India's GV Films pact for 8,000 titles


NEW DELHI -- In what is considered the biggest catalog buyout by an Indian company, South India-based GV Films said Wednesday that it will pay $43.6 million to acquire about 8,000 international titles from an undisclosed U.K.-based rights holder. The deal is being transacted between GV Films and the seller's offshore investment company Pinewood Films (no relation to Pinewood Studios).

"We cannot disclose the name of the seller but the acquisition has been finalized for these titles which date from the 1940s to the 1970s," GV Films president of corporate affairs V. Subramonian said in an interview. "GV Films has acquired the masters for which we hold (worldwide) non-exclusive Internet, DVD and theatrical rights. We will first launch our online portal in about six months, (when) we will roll out these titles for streaming and download."

Some of the titles include "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon" (1943), "Attack of the Monster" (1969), "Murder On Flight 502" (1975), "Clash of the Ninjas" (1986), "Ghost" (1963) and "Murder With Music" (1941).

Subramonian added that titles in the mix include films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

In late April, GV Films raised $40 million through GDRs (Global Depository Receipts) listed on the Luxembourg exchange to fund the acquisition. The financing deal was managed by Zurich-based Bremer Bugmann Seiler Capital Partners AG and the Bank of New York.

GV Films is a leading producer of South Indian films, while the company's local catalog includes 6,000 Indian titles.

Some of these will be shortly launched on the company's webcasting venture GV Films was established in 1989 by G. Venkateswaran and became the first Indian media company to go public.