Bonton takes stake in Czech film studio

Zlin to be upgraded, hyped

PRAGUE — Czech entertainment company Bonton purchased a 62% share of Zlin Film Studio for $1.6 million (55 million crowns), with management and private individuals holding the rest. The sale includes 150,000 square meters of property, four large soundstages, the leading regional radio station, a cinema and rights to an extensive library of kids films and the license to hold a biannual kids’ film fest.

Zlin has 80 employees and services the strong Czech dubbing and subtitling industry, as well as the commercial and film industry.

Speaking of the “very cheap” purchase price, Bonton co-president Mick Hawk said, “Our offer wasn’t based on money, but on what we could do with the studio.” That includes either refurbishing or converting into a miniplex the 1,000-seat cinema, the largest in the Czech Republic. In addition, “Bonton will actively promote film production possibilities at Zlin” and raise the profile of the children’s film festival, one of the largest of its type. Bonton hopes to eventually raise its stake in Zlin to 80% to 85%.

The Zlin purchase is the first of four acquisitions planned by Bonton over the next quarter prior to its stock IPO, now targeted for this fall.

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