'Only Lovers Left Alive'

HONG KONG – Company founders Paul Wiegard and Tim Anderson are expected to regain ownership and management control of Australian distributor Madman Entertainment.

The two co-managing directors today told staff and the industry that they expect to be part of a small consortium that acquires the 18 year-old company from its present owner, the ASX-listed Funtastic group.

Earlier this week Funtastic said that it is in the process of revaluing Madman, and that it was considering a disposal of the business it has owned for the past eight years.

“We have just now agreed on key terms and entered into an exclusive negotiation period, with the goal of ensuring we are on the same page with all the details and then signing the final sale agreement in a few weeks from now,” Wiegard and Anderson said in a letter.

Despite the changing media and home entertainment landscape that last year drove down Madman’s profits, the pair expressed huge enthusiasm for the future. “We realized that Madman is an amazing and unique business.  We realized that we ?nd a rapidly changing media landscape exciting and full of possibility. We realized that we wanted to keep working with great people and content we love. We realized that we wanted to be owners again,” they said.

Madman has been a major buyer of independent films from Europe and Asia, with in-house releasing, marketing and technical capacity in Australia and New Zealand. Upcoming releases include Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” (pictured) and Gareth Evans’ “The Raid 2.”

The Australian distribution scene has seen other companies change hands in recent years. Hoyts Distribution was acquired by France’s Studiocanal. Indie Hopscotch was acquired in 2011 by multinational releasing combine Entertainment One (eOne).

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