Producers Ent. Group makes deal to buy DSL

The Producers Entertainment Group, the company behind Touchstone’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and CBS’ “Dave’s World,” has reached an agreement-in-principle to acquire the library, development slate and operations of 2-year-old TV programmer DSL Prods.

Neither party would reveal the terms of the cash-plus-stock deal, which is expected to close on or before May 1.

In its most recent financial statement for the six months ended Dec. 31, TPEG reported revenues of $ 6.2 million vs. $ 2.6 million for the same period a year earlier.

The company, however, experienced a net loss of $ 1.4 million compared with a gain of $ 63,885 in the year-ago period. That translated into a loss of 16 cents per share vs. a 1 cents gain from July-December of ’92.

TPEG chairman-CEO Harvey Bibicoff said he will retain control of the newly merged company. DSL prexy-CEO Drew Levin and his management team will remain in their current positions, with Levin assuming a senior position in the parent company.

DSL has produced such non-fiction programming as “Future Quest” for PBS, “Forces Beyond,””Hollywood Stuntmakers” and “Hollywood F/X Masters” for the Discovery Channel and “Superstars of Action” for the international market.

Bibicoff said DSL has commitments for its existing programming slate that extend over the next two to three years.

If the deal with the privately held DSL is completed, TPEG will have newfound access to critical foreign distribution channels, enabling it to boost its telepic production. Bibicoff hopes to produce as many as four to six TV movies a year with the added foreign financing.

TPEG is already active in the movie-of-the-week arena, havingproduced a spate of projects for CBS and cablers HBO, Showtime and the USA Network.

The company also has a piece of the action on “Dave’s World,” which is doing fairly well in its rookie season and could be a candidate for domestic syndication in several years.

CBS, its partner on the sitcom, is covering all the deficits on the series — a move that comes in anticipation of the Federal Communications Commission lifting all remaining regs prohibiting webs from sharing in syndication revenues.

DSL’s Levin was traveling Friday and unavailable for comment, but a DSL spokesman said the exec saw the deal as a strategic fit that would “make both companies stronger.”

TPEG, which evolved out of Ventura Entertainment Group, plans to consolidate the operations of the two entities. DSL is slated to move its corporate and production offices from locales in Los Angeles to TPEG’s Beverly Hills headquarters shortly after the deal is completed.

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