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Panasonic, Kodak join in disc prod’n

Matsushita Media Manufacturing to make multimedia materials

HOLLYWOOD — Panasonic Disc Services Corp. said Monday it has teamed up with Kodak Co. to create a production house to manufacture DVD discs and other optical products to be supplied to both firms.

The unit, to be called Matsushita Media Manufacturing of America, will enable both companies to increase their marketshare in the world multimedia disc production and develop new uses for DVD and recordable compact discs, the companies said.

Through the deal, Kodak will contribute its optical disc manufacturing operations located in Youghal, Ireland, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Panasonic, based in Torrance, Calif., will hold a 51% stake in the company, with Kodak owning the rest.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both companies plan to contribute financial and other assets to the venture.

Big chance comes

“The formation of Matsushita Media Manufacturing is an exciting opportunity that will establish a leading optical media manufacturing company,” said Panasonic Disc prexy Bob Pfannkuch.

The move furthers Panasonic’s interest in duking it out with competitors such as Sony and taking a greater stake in the behind-the-scenes post-production and disc-production businesses.

The move comes only a week after Panasonic announced last week that it has teamed with Hollywood-based the Post Group to develop digital and HDTV post-production tools for the film and television industries, through its Broadcast & Television Systems division.

Under that agreement, the Hollywood-based post facility will also serve as a test site for the new Panasonic-built tools and purchase Panasonic’s HDTV equipment.

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