Italian Billionaire Silvio Scaglia's Pacific Capital Takes 29.9 Percent Stake in Germany's Senator

The telecommunications entrepreneur was jailed in 2010 for alleged involvement in money laundering.

COLOGNE, Germany - Pacific Capital, the Luxembourg investment group set up by Italian billionaire Silvio Scaglia, has taken just under 30 percent of German producer/distributor Senator Entertainment, Senator announced Monday.

Pacific Capital acquired a 29.9 percent of Senator, making it a major shareholder of the Berlin-based media group.

Scaglia, one of Italy's richest men and the founder of online video broadcaster Babelgum, made headlines after being jailed in 2010 on charges of being involved in €2 billion money-laundering scheme. Scaglia spent 80 days in jail and a year under house arrest before being released in Feb. 2011. He has always maintained he was innocent of all charges.

The investment comes after a banner first half for Senator. The group more than doubled its turnover in the first half of 2012 and booked a net profit of $6 million (€4.8 million) for the first six months of this year, thanks mainly to the huge success of French comedy Intouchables, which earned some $75 million at the German box office.

"I'm very happy to welcome our new major shareholder Pacific Capital", said Senator chairman and CEO Helge Sasse, "Silvio Scaglia knows the media business and is well-known as a reliable investor who can provide a firm with long-term stability and potential for a healthy growth."

With the help of Scaglia's capital, Sasse hopes to push forward with his ambitious strategy of making Senator one of Germany's top indie producer/distributors. Part of that strategy would see Senator deepen its relationship with Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media. Senator already has a German output deal with Relativity and is in talks with Kavanaugh to take over world sales duties for Realitivity's upcoming slate.