week in review digest
EmptyPair tapped to run new Pathe ops
LONDON — French-owned Pathe, which operates production and distribution on both sides of the channel, is shaking up its management structure and upping Pathe U.K. managing director Francois Ivernel to oversee the marriage of its British and French film distribution and production arms (HR 3/7). Ivernel will run the revamped and enlarged operation in tandem with Marc Lacan, the previous head of Pathe Distribution in France. Ivernel will be tasked with overseeing all things celluloid, while Lacan will oversee general management for the company. Cameron McCracken will step into Ivernel's shoes as Pathe U.K. managing director.
Gyllenhaal steps in for 'Dark Knight'
Maggie Gyllenhaal is in final negotiations to join the all-star cast of "The Dark Knight," Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' sequel to "Batman Begins" (HR 3/9). Gyllenhaal is being tapped to play D.A. Rachel Dawes, the love interest to Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale). In the first movie, Dawes was played by Katie Holmes, who, like Gyllenhaal, is repped by CAA. But reps for Holmes said she was unable to reprise her role because of scheduling conflicts.
ProSiebenSat.1 sale to equity funds done
COLOGNE, Germany — Private-equity funds Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Permira closed their $4 billion deal this past week to buy a majority stake in leading German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 from Haim Saban's German Media Partners (HR 3/7). The deal, signed in December between German Media Partners and KKR/Permira holding company Lavena Holding 4, will give the equity firms 88% of ProSieben's voting common stock, about 13% of its nonvoting preferred stock and a 50.5% overall stake.
Telefonica to sell stake in Endemol
AMSTERDAM — Spanish telecom giant Telefonica said that it wants to sell its stake in "Big Brother" producer Endemol and has retained Lehman Bros. as its financial adviser and asked Merrill Lynch to offer finance facilities to the purchaser (HR 3/12). Telefonica said that, if it sells its 75% stake in the Dutch entertainment company, it will expect the buyer to make a public offer for the remaining 25% of the shares. A bid for all of Endemol's share capital could reach about £2 billion ($3.8 billion), analysts said. Spanish television channel Telecinco said Thursday that it will meet Italian parent company Mediaset this week to discuss a potential joint bid for Endemol.
Italy toon fest ready for int'l jurors
ROME — The 2007 edition of the Cartoons on the Bay festival will feature 162 projects from 30 countries and the event's most international jury to date (HR 3/12). Organizers said Friday that the April 19-22 festival — to be held for the first time in the city of Salerno, rather than the smaller town of Positano — will include eight competitive categories. Winners will be selected by a jury made up of Dutch writer Jan-Willem Bult, Italian director Maurizio Forestieri, the Walt Disney Co.'s Beth Gardiner, Celine Limorato from France 5 and German producer Wolfgang Wegmann. Among the projects slated to unspool are the TV special "Anna and the Moods," featuring the voices of singer Bjork and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame; "Starveillance," which speculates about the lives of celebrities; and a new rendition of the "Peter and the Wolf" fable.