Brentwood Associates backing Landmark deal

Silver Cinema’s bid for Metromedia’s Landmark Theatres (Daily Variety, Oct. 29) is backed by investment group Brentwood Associates.

The 25-year-old venture capital firm, whose past investments have ranged from computer firms to a golf course, has reportedly been in the market for a domestic theater chain for some time.

The deal is being spearheaded by Brentwood general partner David Wong, who is working closely with the Silver Cinemas management team of Tom Owens, Steve Holmes and Ron Reed.

Brentwood declined to comment on the deal.

Specialized distribution execs reacted guardedly to news of a possible sale Wednesday. The only nationwide arthouse circuit, Landmark is seen as a crucial outlet for niche fare in a number of key markets. The chain has developed a reputation for supporting smaller independent distributors as well as studio specialized divisions.

Observers were hopeful that the circuit’s new owners would retain Landmark president Steve Gilula and senior VP and head film buyer Bert Manzari while continuing to invest in new sites.

Investment banking sources estimated the company would have to sink between $10 million and $15 million of its own money into the leveraged buyout, which is believed to be worth around $50 million.

For the six months ended June 30, 1997, Landmark had revenue of $28.8 million and operating income of $1.1 million.

Landmark, which Metromedia acquired in July 1996, operates 49 theaters with 139 screens, making it the largest exhibitor of specialized films in the U.S.

Brentwood’s previous investments have included Apple Computers, Cray Research and WebTV.

While the investment firm has not been a major player in Hollywood, in 1991 co-founder Kip Hagopian bankrolled Segue Prods., headed up by Susan Merzbach and Sarah Ryan Black.

Segue was involved in the production of last year’s Mel Gibson thriller “Ransom,” for which Hagopian received a producer’s credit, and Miramax’s period piece “Restoration.”

Contributor:Martin Peers

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