7 Days of Deals
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Who wins in THE $4.1 Billion EMI Sale: And then there were three. Consolidation wiped out another major record company Nov. 11 when it was announced that the venerable EMI -- home to the Beatles, Norah Jones and Lady Antebellum -- would be split up and sold. Lender Citigroup, which took ownership from Terra Firma Capital Partners in February, sold London-based EMI's recorded music unit for $1.9 billion to Vivendi and Universal Music Group. UMG picks up nearly a dozen imprints including Blue Note, Virgin and marquee label Capitol. EMI Music Publishing, which holds more than 1.3 million copyrights, including current tracks by Beyonce and Kanye West, went for $2.2 billion to a consortium spearheaded by Sony/ATV Music Publishing and including industry veteran David Geffen. The sale reunites Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier with the company he ran for 17 years.
The $4.1 billion price for Roger Faxon's EMI, the No. 4 music company, was higher than expected and came in above the $3.3 billion Len Blavatnik's Access Industries paid to buy the third-largest player, Warner Music Group, in May. But it fell far short of the $6.8 billion Terra Firma paid for EMI in 2007.
Artists seemed to welcome the deal, with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, whose band released several albums on Virgin, commenting, "This is a very positive development, and I particularly welcome that EMI will once again be owned by people who really do have music in their blood." Added Coldplay manager Dave Holmes, "This can only be a positive for the artists and executives at EMI."
Still, there remains the potential hurdle of regulatory approval. IMPALA, a European trade group for indie labels, says it expects that European regulators won't approve the deals. (UMG promised $680 million in divestitures that could allay concerns.) If the deal is nixed, Citigroup would have to choose whether to restart the sales process or keep EMI. But says Faxon, "There are some very serious consequences for EMI if we screw this up."
Another worry: With global music revenue down by $9 billion since 2000, the hoped-for digital turnaround is still somewhat tenuous. But Nomura Securities analyst Matthew Walker says the UMG deal could be good for the company and its CEO, Lucian Grainge, potentially adding 5 percent to its bottom line. Walker also estimates $250 million in cost savings. Perception plays a role, too: With UMG and Sony neck-and-neck in terms of U.S. market share -- 29.5 percent to 29.4 percent, respectively, according to a midyear report from Nielsen SoundScan -- the addition of EMI's 8 percent could cement leadership standing once and for all. -- Shirley Halperin and Georg Szalai
It's Fate for Paranormal Team
The red-hot producer of the Paranormal Activity film franchise and the team behind A&E's unscripted series Paranormal State are about to become strange bedfellows. Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions and Picture Shack Entertainment's George Plamondon and Betsy Schechter have optioned rights to Fate magazine, a long-running chronicler of the odd and unexplained, with an eye toward mining its library of thousands of stories for television and film. Fate, founded in 1948, tells tales of flying saucers, close encounters, poltergeists and more. The cult magazine, based in Lakeville, Minn., has served as a well of inspiration for Plamondon and Schechter in creating various series, including Animal Planet's paranormal docuseries The Haunted. Launched by Amazing Stories editor Raymond A. Palmer and Curtis Fuller, Fate has published first-person accounts of the macabre as well as investigative features and the occasional story debunking dubious claims. "Whether you believe or not, if you watch someone who believes, it's fascinating," says Plamondon. CAA introduced the Picture Shack duo to Blum, whose Paranormal Activity 3 has topped $100 million at the domestic box office (he's also prepping ABC's mystery thriller The River for midseason), and the three decided to team. Adds Plamondon, "There's a level of fear we explore that Jason explores as well with the scripted projects he's done." -- Lesley Goldberg
Russell Brand (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) will star in and produce the Warner Bros. comedy The President Stole My Girlfriend from writer Matt Portenoy (WME, Kaplan/Perrone, Eclipse Law). Brand's Branded Films partner Nik Linnen also will produce, with the company's Beau Bauman exec producing.
Amanda Seyfried (Innovative, Frankfurt Kurnit) is attached to star in an adaptation of the Rolling Stone article "The Girl Who Conned the Ivy League," written by Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair (UTA, Brillstein). McG's Wonderland Sound and Vision is producing.
Joshua Marston (WME, Anonymous) is set to write and direct a remake of the Italian thriller The Double Hour. Roy Lee and Nicola Giuliano are producing.
Notorious director George Tillman Jr. (CAA, Ziffren Brittenham) will develop Miles, about the late jazz legend Miles Davis, whose eldest son, Gregory Davis, will consult.
Writer Evan Spiliotopoulos (UTA, D.J. Talbot, Myman Greenspan) has been hired to work on Universal's Asteroids. Matt Lopez originally scripted the game adaptation. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing.
Max Borenstein (UTA, Anonymous, Abrams Garfinkel) will write Legendary's remake of Godzilla. Gareth Edwards (Monsters) is attached to direct.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas director Todd Strauss-Schulson (UTA, Mosiac, Bloom Hergott) is in early talks to direct Warner Bros.' Family Getaway, the story of a family that discovers its patriarch is an assassin, turning a vacation into a car chase.
Holly Hunter (ICM, Management 360, Ziffren Brittenham) has joined Jackie, a Dutch road movie from director Antoinette Beumer.
CBS Films has pre-emptively acquired film rights to the forthcoming memoir Weekends With Daisy, by journalist Sharron Kahn Luttrell. Also pre-emptively, Simon & Schuster has acquired world English-publication rights to the book, which revolves around service dogs trained at a prison. Simon & Schuster will release the novel on its Gallery Books imprint.
Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green (CAA, Pryor Cashman) will write and direct the love story Q for Columbia. The studio is in final negotiations to pick up the novel of the same name by Evan Mandery.
Ben Stiller (WME, Gang Tyre) and his Red Hour Films are branching into TV with an overall production and development deal at ABC Studios. Deborah Liebling will run the new division.
Chris Columbus (WME, Hansen Jacobson) and CSI veteran Carol Mendelsohn will reboot classic Western The Rifleman for CBS. Columbus will direct and executive produce alongside Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, who will both write. Mendelsohn and Julie Weitz also are attached as EPs, with original producer Arthur Gardner and his son, Steven, and original producer Jules Levy's son, Robert, serving as producers.
Ann Peacock (CAA, Principato Young, Hansen Jacobson) is in talks to pen Harem, a six-hour miniseries set in the Ottoman Empire that is being developed by Starz and BBC Worldwide based on an original idea by Gina Gershon.
Janet McTeer (The Rights House) has joined the final season of DirecTV's Damages, playing a rival to Glenn Close's Patty Hewes.
Paul Bettany (UTA, Affirmative) has booked the lead as sex education researcher William Masters in Showtime's Masters of Sex pilot.
Aida Turturro (Framework) will join fellow Sopranos alum Edie Falco for an episode of Showtime's Nurse Jackie.
National Geographic Channel has ordered a 10-episode series, America's Lost Treasures, from Thom Beers and his Original Productions.
TLC has ordered eight episodes of Irish Dancing Tweens, produced by Sirens Media.
Torrey DeVitto (APA, Insight, Hansen Jacobson) will co-star opposite her husband, Paul Wesley, when she recurs on the CW's The Vampire Diaries.
Stephen Amell (Leverage Management, SMS Talent Agency) will check in to the ABC medical drama Private Practice for a recurring role as a paramedic.
Kevin Alejandro (Gersh, Main Title Entertainment, Hansen Jacobson) will guest star in an episode of A&E's U.S. marshals series Breakout Kings.
Kat Foster (Paradigm, Authentic Talent and Literary Management) will recur on season two of TNT's Franklin & Bash.
Homeland's Amir Arison (Bauman, Redanty & Shaul, Sweet 180) will guest star on FX's American Horror Story.
Reba veteran Kevin Abbott (CAA) will likely take over as showrunner on ABC's Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing.
Showtime has renewed Weeds for an eighth season. … Disney Channel has renewed Phineas & Ferb for a fourth season. … BBC America has ordered five more Nerdist specials. … FX has ordered an additional episode of the fourth season of Sons of Anarchy that is set to air Dec. 6.
CBS Early Show has added Charlie Rose and Gayle King, beginning in January. Rose will anchor the 7 a.m. hour with King joining the show at 8 a.m.
After 35 years with Warner Music, Van Halen (Azoff Management, King Holmes) is signing with Universal Music's Interscope Records.
UTA is in negotiations for a 15-year lease for about 135,000 square feet of new office space at 9336 and 9346 Civic Center Drive in Beverly Hills. The deal is expected to close by the end of November. The property, owned by New York-based developer Tishman Speyer, is undergoing extensive renovations; it was the headquarters of Hilton Hotels.
FremantleMedia has secured European licensing rights to Sonic the Hedgehog, the spiky-haired blue videogame character introduced by Sega in 1991.
Rep Sheet Angelina Jolie has added a new member to her small brood of representatives: IFA Talent agent Ilene Feldman, who will help find roles in small, independent films for the actress-filmmaker. Jolie's team also includes manager Geyer Kosinski at Media Talent Group; UTA, which reps her as a writer; and attorney Robert Offer at Sloane Offer. … Perrey Reeves, who played "Mrs. Ari" on Entourage, has signed with Paradigm. … Ryan Guzman, star of the forthcoming Step Up 4, has signed with WME. … Outline Productions, an independent TV production company that makes The Great British Food Revival for BBC2, has signed with CAA. … Tom Ruprecht, an Emmy-nominated former senior staff writer on Late Show With David Letterman, has signed with UTA. … Alex Taub, co-showrunner and executive producer of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva, has signed with UTA. … Daniel Gillies, who has a recurring role on the CW's The Vampire Diaries, has signed with APA. … Philip Levens, who is developing Finders, Keepers, a one-hour pilot at USA, has signed with ICM. … French actress Camille De Pazzis, whose credits include Gallic features The First Day of the Rest of Your Life and Quand j'etais chanteur, has signed with Gersh.