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Upstart Rubicon to buy pic company

CANNES — Handmade Films, the London-based sales company, is poised to be acquired by Rubicon, the U.S.-based investment vehicle of two Indian entrepreneurs.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of this month. It is expected that the company will continue as a going concern under the existing management team of Gareth Jones and Hilary Davis.

Handmade, founded by ex-Beatle George Harrison, has been owned by Canada’s Paragon Entertainment Corp. since 1994. But Paragon itself has been up for sale since the fall, and recently filed for creditor protection.

The imminent sale of Handmade to Rubicon confirms that Paragon will be broken up and sold in pieces. The Canadian company also has a TV division in Toronto that is currently attracting offers. Paragon CEO Jon Slan exited a few weeks back, with president Richard Borchiver stepping up to acting CEO.

Handmade’s library now comprises 33 films — 23 from the Harrison days, including “Mona Lisa,” “The Long Good Friday” and “Time Bandits,” and 10 from the Paragon era, including current projects “The Man With Rain in His Shoes,” “The Secret Laughter of Women,” “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Sweety Barrett.”

But one of Handmade’s biggest library titles, the Monty Python pic “Life of Brian,” is currently the center of a court battle, with the Pythons bidding to repossess the pic. A ruling is expected Thursday in London’s High Court.

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