CLT/Ufa, Fox team in 5-yr. output pact

Murdoch's sale of 49.9% stake confirmed

BERLIN — European heavyweight CLT/Ufa announced Friday a 20th Century Fox output deal, which is likely to appease concern in the industry over the future of such pacts after a landmark lawsuit filed by the Kirch Group against Universal.

The agreement runs for five years and secures for CLT/Ufa rights to the German-speaking territories and Luxembourg for Fox product such as “Anna and the King,” starring Jodie Foster, and “The Beach,” with Leonardo DiCaprio.

All future Fox television programming, which includes “Ally McBeal,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Simpsons,” is wrapped into the agreement.

Murdoch maneuvers

The output deal is one of a number of pacts that CLT/Ufa recently made with global mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is at the top of Fox parent company News Corp.

Murdoch’s sale of his 49.9% stake in second-generation web Vox to CLT/Ufa also was confirmed Friday. The two entities are negotiating the sale of European Champions League soccer coverage back from Murdoch to CLT/Ufa station RTL.

CLT/Ufa already has output deals in place with Disney and Universal.

In December, the Kirch Group filed a $2 billion lawsuit against U, alleging that the studio breached a TV licensing deal by concealing a plan to cut back drastically on motion picture and small-screen production. Universal has deemed the suit “without merit” (Daily Variety, Dec. 16, 1999).

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