Ingenious launches distribution fund

Financier to raise $203 million

CANNES — Ingenious, the U.K.-based media financier, has announced its intention to raise a E150 million ($203 million) film distribution fund.

It will invest alongside European indie distribs to acquire rights to new movies and libraries, and to finance their marketing costs.

It says that the fund will be sufficient to co-finance the distribution of more than 100 movies.

Ingenious intends to take a “slate approach,” backing a distributor’s entire portfolio of films.

What’s unclear is whether Ingenious will partner exclusively with a single distrib per territory, or whether it expects to back competing slates of movies.

Duncan Reid, commercial director of Ingenious, said, “Film distribution is one of the most profitable yet underinvested parts of the global film industry. The new fund will provide much needed capital for independent distributors looking to build larger film portfolios and improve their bargaining power with broadcasters and DVD retailers.”

Ingenious will raise the fund from institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals, via a private placement of loan notes to be listed in Ireland. Minimum investment is $1.35 million, and the fund is targeting a 25% internal rate of return.

One senior Euro distrib welcomed the Ingenious plan as an opportunity to spread his risk, potentially allowing him to buy a greater number of films at bigger budgets.

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