Valencia, SBI in interactive linkup

Cash-and-stock deal worth 7 figures

Valencia Entertainment, a suburban Los Angeles facilities services and TV production house, on Tuesday announced a merger agreement with publicly traded interactive-entertainment company SBI Communications in a cash-and-stock deal worth an estimated seven figures.

Valencia chief Vince Vellardita, who in four years has taken the company from a single soundstage in Santa Monica to eight stages over 18 acres in Valencia, will become CEO of SBI. The current owners of Valencia — slated to become an SBI subsid under an undetermined name — will control majority holdings in the new company.

“I see the company expanding in the facilities end, as well as in communications and new media, especially in interactive programming,” Vellardita said.

Deal is expected to close sometime after an SBI shareholders meeting on Oct. 10.

Together, Valencia and SBI represent combined annual revenue of only $2 million, with 70% of Valencia’s business comprising facility bookings and SBI limited mostly to Internet-based gaming. But those operations will be expanded, and TV production is expected to add substantially to company income in coming years, Vellardita said.

Valencia TV pilots recently shot or in production include “Truster,” an action series with 20th Century Fox and Woody Fraser Prods.; “Fuhgedabowdit,” a sitcom penned by Kim Weiskopf (“Married … With Children”) and directed by David Owen Trainor (“Seinfeld,” “Ellen”); and a variety show, “Frankie Avalon’s Let’s Do It Again.”

SBI produces interactive, satellite-delivered bingo and other games for Web sites, including FrontierPalace.com and SatelliteBingo.dom. Current chief Ron Foster is expected to continue in an executive capacity still to be determined, Vellardita said.

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