Korea’s idea change

Investors nab MK Pictures for $16.3 million

A consortium of investors with interests in cable TV has bought a controlling stake in Korean mini-conglom MK Pictures in a deal worth 15 billion won ($16.3 million).

MK’s founders, helmer Kang Je-gyu, group CEO Lee Eun and prexy Shim Jae-myung, announced Friday that they had sold their shares, totaling 29% of the company, to five investors headed by Kim Young-kun.

Kim, who is CEO of regional cable network operator Kang Won TV and Kang Won Networks, has management control.

MK’s catalog includes many of the landmark movies of the modern Korean era including “Shiri,” “JSA” and “Taegukgi,” and its founders are three of the most famous names in the industry.

Company joined the stock market only three years ago, when production houses Myung Films and Kang Je-gyu Films teamed to take over and transform hand-tool manufacturer Seshin Buffalo.

While the deal was motivated by Kang Won’s intention to move from network operation into content production, the implications for MK are still emerging.

Kang, Lee and Shim have not revealed their plans or future relationships with MK, although they are expected to see through current productions, which include “Women’s Team Handball” and animated pic “Yipsak, a Chicken Wild.” Sources close to MK suggest that Lee and Shim will oversee the film division, while Kang will focus on his next helming gig.

A company spokesman suggests that in the future, the emphasis will be on film production, planning, marketing and sales. That is expected to mean continuation of relations with Chinese group Poly Bona to build and operate mainland China multiplexes, and it could mean expansion into theatrical releasing in South Korea. But a separation from the group’s talent management is in the cards.

MK was recently involved with production and international sales of “When Romance Meets Destiny,” “The President’s Last Bang,” “Bloody Tie” and “A Good Lawyer’s Wife,” among others.

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