Pandora seeks support

PARIS — Pandora, the Paris-based finance and sales company which hit payday with Scott Hicks’ $5 million “Shine” and Jan Sverak’s Oscar-winning “Kolya,” has still to resolve the question of a shareholder shuffle.

At the Cannes film fest this year, Pandora Cinema prexy Ernst Goldschmidt confirmed that the company is looking for new shareholders to replace some or all of the existing lineup of 10 banks, led by Credit Lyonnais subsid Clinvest.

“We have had talks with several players,” Goldschmidt recently told Daily Variety. “In some discussions we have come close then they have stalled. The search continues.”

Pandora has retained London-based Apax Partners and Co. to spearhead the discussions. Given the commercial and critical success of “Shine” and ‘Kolya,” some observers have been surprised that a backer has yet to be found.

There had been speculation that that the 60-something Goldschmidt himself would lead a management buyout, but while not entirely ruling out such a move, the Pandora Cinema prexy noted, “Given my age, it’s not one of my highest priorities.”

The company has made moves to beef up its penetration of the U.S. film market following the debacle that surrounded the appointment of Jonathan Taplin to head a move to invest in bigger-budget U.S. pics.

Now Pandora has hired L.A.-based consultant Eleanora Granata to seek U.S. acquisitions, although Goldschmidt said the big-budget film move is no longer on the front burner.

On the French film front, Goldschmidt admitted that Pandora’s first move to get theatrical sales to a Gallic pic had been disappointing. “The problem remains the same, in that many French films are attached to groups which have their own sales divisions,” Goldschmidt said.

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