Parretti Revises Rights Sale Total

Giancarlo Parretti has revealed that he sold off $400 million in foreign distribution rights to MGM-Pathe films before the merger became final Nov. 1.

According to documents filed Jan. 14 with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Parretti and his Pathe Communications raised a total of $737 million from selling off distribution rights to current MGM-Pathe films as well as older films of each of the two studios, plus the valuable United Artists library.

Pathe previously said $625 million was raised from the sale of rights to help finance the $1.3 billion buyout of MGM/UA. The remainder was raised through bank loans from Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland.

MGM-Pathe officials said the $112 million difference between the $625 million and the $737 million reported last week will be used “for working capital.” The company would not comment further on the difference.

Of the $737 million, which surfaced in the latest report, $212 million came from Turner Broadcasting Systems under a 10-year licensing agreement for domestic cable rights, $125 million from Time Warner for worldwide video rights and $400 million from different European sources for free and/or pay-tv foreign rights.

Danjaq S.A., producer of the James Bond films, tried to block Parretti from selling off the films’ distrib rights, claiming it violated existing distrib agreements. Pathe has countersued, and the issue is still in court.

Pathe officials refused comment about the Danjaq issue and how the SEC documents may affect the case.

In separate news, Parretti unveiled plans to shuffle the operations of Comfinance S.A. to another private foreign interest. The Luxembourg-based holding company – strategic in raising loans for the MGM/UA buyout – is essentially being shut down, per company officials.

Parretti set a Jan. 29 meeting to consider the operation’s dissolution and/or liquidation. Interpart S.A., which was rolled into Comfinance, is also set for liquidation on that date, a spokesman said.

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