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Independent distributor Millennium Entertainment has been bought by the company’s management team, led by CEO Bill Lee, in partnership with private investment firm Virgo Investment Group.
Nu Image, the production company headed by Avi Lerner, formerly held majority ownership of Millennium, with Exclusive Media co-founders Nigel Sinclair and Guy East and Prentice Capital owning smaller stakes. Millennium Entertainment, a separate operation from Lerner’s Nu Image/Millennium Films, went on sale in April 2013.
Millennium Entertainment will change its name following the transaction. Lee will continue to run the operation.
Founded in 2010, Millennium Entertainment has distributed more than 300 films on multiple platforms. Its releases include Persecuted, the religious-political thriller starring Fred Thompson; John Turturro’s directorial Fading Gigolo, with Woody Allen; and Richard Linklater’s black comedy Bernie, with Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey. It is currently handling the release of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s Are You Here (Aug. 22) and the nontheatrical release of the James Cameron documentary Deepsea Challenge 3D, which hit theaters Aug. 8.
“I am pleased to invest my own capital alongside Virgo and am confident that Virgo’s values, ideas and resources will enable us to fully realize our business aspirations of building broader relationships with producers, talent and customers,” Lee said in a statement.
“We’re very pleased that Millennium Entertainment has reached this milestone,” Nu Image chairman Lerner and COO Trevor Short said in the statement. “A lot of hard work from a dedicated team has built Millennium into a prominent player, which is thriving in a competitive market. As opportunities arise, we hope to continue to supply movies for release through the Millennium pipeline we helped to create.”
Virgo Investment Group was founded in 2009. It has invested nearly $600 million in 34 investments to date.
“We share Bill’s vision for the Company and its continued growth is our priority,” Virgo Investment Group partner Mark Perez said in the statement. “We believe the confluence of recent changes within the competitive landscape, expanding demand for new content, and the ongoing evolution of physical and digital consumption create an attractive market seam for innovative film distribution solutions.”
Stephen Prough of Salem Partners advised Millennium Entertainment in the transaction. Dan Rowe of Sword, Rowe & Company advised Virgo, with Schuyler Moore of Stroock serving as legal counsel for Virgo.
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