Most private investors shy away from Cinecitta

ROME — The Oct. 31 deadline has come and gone for private investors to reconfirm their initial commitment to a stake in Cinecitta Servizi, the new management company formed to run the partially privatized Rome studios (Daily Variety, Oct. 2).

As expected, the majority of those potential partners have declined to come forward.

Italy’s Cecchi Gori Group, headed by Vittorio Cecchi Gori, and Aurelio De Laurentiis’ Filmauro are the sole investors to have reconfirmed, while despite previous commitments, pubcaster RAI, Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, Britain’s Rank group and two consortiums of Italian producers appear to have opted out of the deal.

Cinecitta Servizi was officially made operational Oct. 1, taking the running of the studio and its production schedule out of government hands. But with CGG, Filmauro and state film group Ente Cinema being the only investors to come through, the $15 million increase in the company’s capital that is required to bring the restructuring project fully to fruition remains elusive.

Ente CEO and Cinecitta president Luigi Abete has stressed in the past that even without the full slate of investors, the privatization would go ahead as planned, and that the investment quotas for private partners would be underwritten by the final deadline of June 30 next year. Following the forfeit of five major stakes in the deal, he now will be seeking replacement backers.

“We will evaluate all the opportunities presented to us regarding the plan, both from institutional and financial investors and from investors within the sector,” said Abete. Given that most of Italy’s major film and television players were among the group that bowed out, and offshore bidders have been slow to bite, Abete may have a difficult task on his hands.

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