Fox unit buys stake in Cine

Investment strenghtens tie to Lions Gate slate

Fox Family Worldwide has acquired a 20% equity interest in Montreal-based Cine-Groupe, an animation facility that is a subsidiary of Lions Gate Entertainment.

FFW has had an ongoing relationship with Lions Gate, but this marks the first time that they’ve invested in the company. The deal enhances FFW’s alliance with Lions Gate and provides them greater access to their programming content. It also affords them access to Canada’s favorable economic/tax dynamics.

Cine-Groupe has produced more than 400 half-hours for TV, which have aired on FFW’s family of cable networks, and anticipate another 160 this year, which include “Princess Sissi,” “Jim Button,” “Kit & Kaboodle” and “Bad Dog.” Cine-Groupe is also scheduled to complete the animated feature “Heavy Metal FAKK 2” for Columbia TriStar next year.

“In order to compete effectively, a production company needs to have unique relationships with distribution outlets,” said Dennis Miller, prexy of Lions Gate Media, which oversees TV operations for parent company Lions Gate Entertainment. This deal “goes a long way in establishing an important relationship with a key end-user both in the U.S. and abroad.”