the world digest
LONDON — British DVD distributor Contender Entertainment, which puts out such titles as "Life on Mars" and "Will & Grace," has been snapped up by Entertainment One in a cash and stock deal worth £49.4 million ($97.3 million), marking the first European foothold for the Canadian home entertainment venture. The companies on Thursday told the London stock exchange that Entertainment One will fund the acquisition through the issue of 20.2 million new shares, raising £21.7 million ($42.7 million) cash and financing the balance through additional debt facilities.
ROME — Pedro Almodovar on Thursday was presented with the Commendation of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, one of Italy's highest civilian awards. The ceremony at Palazzo Chigi, which saw Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli bestow the director the gold medal, followed a reception for the nominees for the David di Donatello Awards. Almodovar — acclaimed for such films as 2003 Oscar winner "Hable Con Ella" and last year's "Volver" — was presented the award for his "contributions to European cinema and culture."
MUNICH — Mark Newton, executive vp at global TV licensing giant FremantleMedia Enterprises, will add the company's German licensing business to his portfolio as of July 1, FME announced Thursday. He replaces Birgit Hoensch, who is departing FME to take over RTL Enterprises (HR 6/12). FremantleMedia, which produces such formats as the "Idol" franchise and "The Price Is Right" along with numerous comedies, dramas and telefilms, is a fully owned subsidiary of European broadcaster RTL.