Dutch co. aggressively outbids competish

NEW YORK — It was a case of third time lucky for Polygram Filmed Entertainment, which confirmed Wednesday that it had successfully bid $225 million for the 1,051-title Epic film library (Daily Variety, Dec. 3) being sold by French government agency Consortium de Realisation.

After being beaten in its attempts to buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. last year by the Kirk Kerkorian-backed MGM management team and then losing out to MGM in the auction of Orion Pictures last summer, Polygram had plenty of incentive to outbid MGM this time.

And it did, outbidding five other companies including the Lion and Walt Disney Co.

While several of the companies made offers close to Polygram’s, sources said there was a price gap of as much as $100 million between the Polygram bid and the lowest offer. Polygram wasn’t even the highest bidder — another company made a higher offer which was rejected because of problems with its proposed contract of purchase, according to people close to the situation.

Polygram has much more reason than most to bid high for the library. Whereas MGM, for instance, has a library of close to 4,000 titles, PFE noted in a statement Wednesday that the acquisition “triples PFE’s existing catalog of five hundred movies.”

Polygram Filmed Entertainment CEO Michael Kuhn noted in the statement that “a core part of Polygram’s strategy has been to acquire film catalogs to complement its new film production.”

(Rex Weiner in Los Angeles con-tributed to this report.)

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