Deluxe Entertainment Finalizes $68 Million Acquisition of Ascent Media Businesses

The deal, which joins two of the world's largest postproduction entities, is expected to change the face of the industry.

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. has completed its acquisition of Ascent Media Corp.'s Creative Services and Media Services businesses in a deal valued at $68 million in cash plus the assumption of an unspecified amount of debt. John Malone’s Liberty Media is the majority shareholder of Ascent.

The next step will be to integrate the Ascent businesses into the Deluxe group, joining two of the world’s largest postproduction entities and in turn changing the face of the industry.

Ascent’s digital intermediate business, Company 3 -- which is run by respected colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld (Alice in Wonderland), who it has been confirmed will remain with the company -- will therefore fall under the Deluxe umbrella, along with Deluxe-owned digital intermediate company EFILM, which is home to additional leading colorists including Steve Scott (Julie & Julia).

Ascent Media Creative Services includes U.S.-based postproduction businesses Beast, Method, Encore Hollywood and Level 3 Post, as well as U.K.-based post ventures such as Rushes and Ascent 142. Many of the acquired business units provide creative and media services in television and commercial postproduction that go beyond Deluxe’s services -- 50% of which are digital services and the other 50% is film.

In all, an estimated 1,800 Ascent employees are part of the deal.

“In the coming weeks and months, Deluxe will be advising customers on the new service offerings,” said Cyril Drabinsky, president and CEO of Deluxe, in a released statement. “We look forward to providing our customers with the best that the combined companies and teams of talented employees have to offer.”

Deluxe Entertainments Services Group services include postproduction, production, distribution and archiving. In business for 95 years, Deluxe is owned by MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings, led by businessman Ron Perelman.

Deluxe includes operations in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as Barcelona, London, Madrid, Melbourne, New York, Rome, Sydney, Toronto and Vancouver.

Liberty Media got into the post industry roughly a decade ago, when it acquired a number of leading independently owned postproduction facilities, including Encore Hollywood and Method. Currently, AMG operates businesses across the U.S., as well as in London, Dubai and Singapore.

The postproduction industry has been in a state of continuous change, particularly driven by rapid technological advancement. Businesses range from large global entities included Deluxe, Ascent and their chief rival, Technicolor, to small, privately owned, entrepreneur-led ventures. For a big player, it requires significant capital investment, but in this challenging time generally has slim margins.