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Universal Focus shutters

Execs Kristol, Gray ankling

HOLLYWOOD — Universal’s fledgling specialty arm Universal Focus is folding and exec veeps Mark Kristol and Claudia Gray are exiting the company.

Move is part of U’s ongoing efforts to consolidate its specialty divisions in the wake of Vivendi’s merger with USA Networks.

Merger, which has yet to close, would put U in possession of overlapping specialty film divisions USA Films, Universal Focus and StudioCanal. The studio is still in talks to integrate those units into one specialty arm, though it’s not clear what it will be called or how it will be structured.

Focus was founded in 2000 as a specialty arm to develop and distribute U’s niche titles, beginning with “Billy Elliot.”

Kristol, who was exec VP of U Pictures, oversaw U Focus. Under the direction of Kristol and Gray, the division recently released “Mullholland Drive” and “Brotherhood of the Wolf.”

Division had approximately five dedicated employees.

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