Warner Bros. Italia Acquires Berlusconi's Medusa Home Video

11:37 AM PST 11/01/2012 by Eric J. Lyman
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi

Mediaset, Medusa's parent company, is reported to be shopping around several subsidiaries.

ROME – A division of Warner Bros. Italia announced that it had acquired Medusa Home Video, the home video division of Silvio Berlusconi’s production and distribution company Medusa Film, the first in what could become a series of asset sales by Medusa’s parent company.

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The deal, brokered between Barbara Salabè, head of Warner Bros Entertainment Italy and Medusa Film chief executive Giampaolo Letta, include the rights to around 3,000 titles in the Medusa Home Video portfolio, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, The Departed from Martin Scorcese, and the Lord of the Rings franchise -- the last just in time for Warner Bros. Italia’s release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, on Dec. 13.

Terms of the deal were not released.

Salabè praised the deal, saying in a statement that, “joining this successful business with ours helps further our interests in the Italian home video market, adding some highly complementary titles to our already string portfolio of content.”

The 17-year-old Medusa Home Video had been a pioneer in DVD and Blu-Ray production and distribution in Italy.

Mediaset, Medusa’s parent company, along with partner Benetton, is also reported to be looking to sell The Space Cinema exhibitor chain and Mediaset Premium, the company’s for-pay satellite television service. The company is suffering from rising borrowing costs, falling television ad revenue, and a battered share price.

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Berlusconi, Mediaset’s founder and a three-time Italian prime minister, has suffered from personal scandals and legal woes that have intensified since he stepped down as prime minister nearly a year ago. In October, he was sentenced to four years behind bars for tax evasion. That verdict is currently under appeal.

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