German producer-distrib Senator Entertainment appears headed for a change of ownership.
Dutch investment group Sapinda Holding, run by German investor Lars Windhorst, has obtained an option to acquire 21.2% of the company by Dec. 20.
Sapinda’s option includes the approximately 17% held by Senator chief exec Helge Sasse, while more than 50% is publicly traded on the German stock exchange, with the rest split up among individual shareholders or shareholding companies.
Sapinda has described the move as a “normal investment without any strategic intention” and said it should not be seen as a signal that the company was expanding into the media sector.
Senator enjoyed a major hit this year with the release of “The King’s Speech,” the Oscar-winning film that grossed $15.5 million in Germany, but it fared worse with David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” which tanked at the German box office.The Berlin-based group managed to improve its financial base last year, narrowing its net loss from $9.3 million in 2009 to some $700,000, while revenue dropped 5% to $33 million.
The company’s upcoming releases include Steven Silver’s “The Bang Bang Club
,” starring Ryan Phillippe; John Wells’ “The Company Men,” with Ben Affleck; and Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine
,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
Senator just picked up a slew of titles in Cannes, among them Mike Newell’s “Great Expectations,” an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic starring Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes; Tanya Wexler
’s romantic comedy “Hysteria,” starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal; and Curtis Hanson’s “Mavericks,” with Gerard Butler.
Further acquisitions included Christophe Honore’s Cannes closer “Beloved,” and Gallic laffer “Intouchables” (Untouchable).
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!