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Taiwan studio set for reprieve

Mogul to buy Central Motion, restart production

TAIPEI – Local businessman Gou Tai-chiang is poised to buy a majority stake in Taiwan’s oldest and largest film studio, the temporarily shuttered Central Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC).

In taking over the studio from China Times Group, which acquired CMPC in late 2005, Gou expressed a strong interest in starting film production again under CMPC’s banner. Currently, CMPC has no pics on its slate.

Local press reports pegged the sale at $94 million. The deal may still undergo scrutiny by politicians, who have already questioned the China Times Group’s original acquisition of CMPC from the Kuomintang (KMT), one of the island’s major opposition political parties. Politicos raised questions about the sale price, which some believed to be far below market value.

The KMT sold CMPC and other assets as part of a pledge to relinquish its media holdings. In February, the China Times Group shuttered CMPC’s studios and print processing labs, laid-off employees and cleaned the company’s slate.

CMPC is Taiwan’s oldest film studio and counts among its hits Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet.” The company also exhibits and distributes pics.

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