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Universal combines acquisitions

Studio's global umbrella covers pickups

Universal Pictures has consolidated worldwide acquisitions for all its labels into one umbrella group that will oversee pickups for Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Rogue Pictures and Universal Pictures Intl.

Reorg follows the gradual unwinding of United Intl. Pictures, U’s decades-long overseas distribution partnership with Paramount Pictures.

Universal chair Marc Shmuger and co-chair David Linde will oversee the new worldwide acquisitions division, along with Focus chair James Schamus, U exec veep Michael Joe and Focus prexy Andrew Karpen. They tapped Jason Resnick, an exec with experience acquiring pics for all its labels, to head the group as senior VP-general manager of worldwide acquisitions.

The UIP phase-out began Jan. 1, though it continues to handle some regions as the partners go their separate ways.

U painted the move as one that will free up acquisitions execs to focus on the entire company, rather than a label’s mandate. “By placing people in charge of regions rather than film labels,” producers will be able to access Universal in “a simple and precise way,” Joe and Karpen said.

U said there will be no overall reduction in staff under the reorg.

Resnick will oversee all acquisitions but will more directly involved in North American-based acquisitions on a hands-on basis. He will oversee those deals with Focus acquisitions director Dylan Wilcox and Anikah McLaren, a Gotham-based acquisitions manager. Wilcox will also handle Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

UPI acquisitions director Ben Roberts will focus on the U.K. and Europe, reporting to Resnick and working with London-based acquisitions manager Eleonore de Prunele and U acquisitions manager Klaus Hefele in Germany.

Acquisitions coordinator Chan Phung will work with Wilcox on his territories. And Resnick and Wilcox will work with Keizo Kabata in Japan.

New division will coordinate with UPI prexy David Kosse and Eddie Cunningham, prexy of Universal Pictures Intl. Entertainment.

Previously, Resnick was senior acquisitions VP for Focus and Universal, picking up “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “Ray” and “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.” Prior to that he was acquisitions veep for U.

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