Indie incorporated

Vocento buys TriPictures majority stake

Vocento, one of Spain’s largest media congloms, has bought a majority stake in top Spanish indie distributor TriPictures.

The exact size of the stake and value of the deal were not revealed.

Avanzit, a high-tech media company that also made a play for TriPictures, had valued the whole of TriPictures at some E100 million ($129 million), according to Spanish press reports.

Purchase will leave TriPictures’ veteran management — prexy Felipe Ortiz, CEO Pepe Hueva and VP Luis Ortiz — running the company, Ortiz told Daily Variety.

Move marks a further step in the corporatization of Spain’s independent distribution sector. Two of TriPictures’ main indie distrib rivals — the Zeta-owned On Pictures and DeAPlaneta –are already backed by cash-rich publishing congloms.

“The entry of a new partner will give us more financial muscle for growth in distribution and production,” Ortiz said.

TriPictures entered international production in March, taking a minority stake in the $103 million French-language pic “Asterix at the Olympic Games,” co-helmed by Thomas Langemann and Frederic Forestier.

It holds an output deal with New Line dating from 2001 and was last year’s highest-grossing indie distrib at home, grossing $47.7 million, or 5.8% of Spain’s total B.O.

TriPictures deal reps just the latest acquisition by Vocento, a former regional publishing group that’s diversifying heavily into TV and film.

Vocento holds 13% of free-to-air broadcaster Telecinco; a majority stake in DTT channel Net TV; and, through holding company Veralia, majority stakes in light entertainment producer Europroducciones and Cesar Benitez’s production house BocaBoca.

On Wednesday, Vocento confirmed press reports that it will float 20% of its shares on the stock exchange this fall.

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