Deal likely to install Spyglass prexies as senior execs
HOLLYWOOD — With the ink drying on its deal to buy Initial Entertainment Group, Intermedia may be turning its attentions to acquiring Spyglass Entertainment.While all parties involved invoked various degrees of denial, Intermedia is in serious discussions to acquire Spyglass, the company behind “The Sixth Sense.” A deal that will likely install the latter’s chieftains Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as senior execs. L.A.-based Intermedia is the production and foreign sales company behind pics like “The Wedding Planner” and the upcoming “K-19: The Widowmaker” toplining Harrison Ford. At the same time, Intermedia co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair are negotiating to take roles in the new company that would require less hands-on involvement. Although Sinclair insists he will remain in the executive suite, a production deal is said to be a possibility. That would leave co-chairman Moritz Bormann leading the Intermedia charge along with Jon Gumpert, the former Universal Pictures exec VP who was recently tapped as Intermedia’s vice chairman and head of motion picture operations. Together, East and Sinclair own about 20% of Intermedia. If they were to sell their shares, each could receive a payout of more than $60 million. However, an insider says such a sale is not part of the current discussions. “Both Guy and Nigel will stay,” says the insider. “There are discussions about changes in management involving more than just the two of them, but nothing is decided yet. It’s not part of the discussion for them to sell their shares.” Intermedia’s acquisition of Spyglass could prove propitious for both companies. Bormann is looking at a number of buying targets, with an eye toward building shareholder value for the company’s investors on Germany’s Neuer Markt. At the same time, such a purchase would essentially make Spyglass a publicly traded company — something it pursued earlier this year. Spyglass even drew up a prospectus for a float on the Neuer Markt, but Germany’s passion for trading on Hollywood seemed to go south at about the same time as the American economy’s own dip. Intermedia’s share price, however, proved resilient in the face of that Teutonic shift.