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Fox, Rank face $ 300 mil vid suit

Financier Douglas R. Shooker and a holding company that has been assigned rights belonging to Premiere Video Inc. are seeking $ 300 million in profits allegedly realized by Fox Inc. and Rank Organization Plc. in a deal that Shooker says he should have made.

According to a complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court, Shooker and his partner Peter Grubstein were approached by Robert Pfannkuch, the chief executive officer of Rank Video Services America in 1989.

Pfannkuch allegedly told them they could buy Deluxe from Fox for about $ 150 million and that Rank Plc., Rank Video’s parent company, was no longer interested in Deluxe because a $ 130 million bid had been rejected as too low.

The parties then negotiated for nine months, during which time Pfannkuch allegedly acted as advisor and confidante to Shooker. During that time, the suit said, Fox and Shooker formed a joint venture under which Shooker was to create a corporation to acquire the assets of both Deluxe and Premiere.

The parties finally worked out a deal, the suit alleges, under which Premiere would get the video duplication rights, Deluxe would get exclusive rights to process all Twentieth Century Fox films and Shooker would not have to put up any cash — a confidential fact that Rank was later able to exploit. The holding company stock was to be controlled by Shooker and Fox, the suit said.

But during the week that final documents were scheduled to be signed, Shooker was told that Fox was selling Deluxe to Rank for about $ 180 million in cash and granting Rank Video the duplicating rights.

Pfannkuch, Rank Plc. and Rank Video defrauded Shooker by taking for themselves the opportunity that had been promised to and developed by Shooker, the suit said.

Fox officials could not be reached for comment.

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