Cerezo takes slice of Manga Films

Producer buys 16% stake for $7 mil

MADRID — One of Spain’s largest rights-holders, producer Enrique Cerezo, has bought up 16% of Spanish indie distribber Manga Films for €6 million ($7.0 million) in what looks like the seeds of a long-term alliance.

Cerezo underwrote a capital increase at Manga via his TV rights-broking co Video Mercury Films.

The deal, announced Friday, forms part of a larger refinancing operation at Manga that will see it shortly tap a further $11.7 million from an as-yet-undisclosed financial source.

These moves, and slightly enhanced prospects for sales to some of Spain’s free-to-air broadcasters, should prove a large fillip to Manga. Like most other Spanish distribbers, the Barcelona-based distribber/producer has been hit hard by the disappearance of satcaster Via Digital, which was a voracious buyer of indie pics. Via merged with pay TV rival Sogecable earlier this year.

Following the capital increase, Manga financial resources now stand at some $14.0 million, per company sources. The association with Cerezo may allow the partners to spark synergies in sales to TV.

Manga has a 70-strong staff and a large video/DVD sales structure in Spain that needs to be fed by new titles.

Manga will maintain its activity as a distribber, prexy Luis de Val told Daily Variety. At the same time, it will ramp up its production activities, VP Xavier Catafal added.

Manga has taken co-prod equity in John Duigan’s “Head in the Clouds” and has a Spanish pic production pact with Barcelona’s Iris Star. First pic from the alliance, the Pau Freixas-helmed ocean-set thriller “Dark Camera,” will screen at the Sitges Catalonia Intl. Film Festival.

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