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Constantin on Highlight reel

Co.'s shares rose 6% on news of the deal Thursday

Bernd Eichinger has sold his 25% stake in Constantin Film to majority owner Highlight Communications for E36 million ($44 million).

Highlight now holds more than 90% of the publicly listed Constantin.

Highlight and Eichinger agreed on a call option deal last year, giving Highlight dibs on Eichinger’s stock at a price of $13.65 per share. Constantin shares rose 6% on news of the deal Thursday before settling at $13.30.

Constantin said Eichinger, who is supervisory board chairman, would remain as a producer and consultant.

Company extended Eichinger’s contract last year through 2009, guaranteeing that the producer of “Downfall” and the upcoming “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” would continue to work exclusively for Constantin.

Eichinger has transformed Constantin into one of the most successful German production and distribution companies since buying a stake in the fledgling Neue Constantin Film in 1979 and becoming its chief exec. Eichinger stepped down from the management board in 2001 to concentrate on production.

Constantin is expecting revenues in 2005 to reach some $240 million, with pre-tax profits at $12 million.

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