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Damon takes Behaviour

Exec tapped chairman and CEO

MONTREAL — Seasoned Los Angeles film exec Mark Damon has taken over control of troubled Canuck film company Behaviour Communications.

In a complex re-financing arrangement, Damon has been appointed chairman and CEO of the Montreal-based company, with Richard Szalwinski resigning as chairman and Bernard Legendre stepping down as CEO. Szalwinski’s holding company BHVR Communications and Legendre will transfer to Damon all of their class-A shares (1.3 million) and class-B shares (18.7 million), which will make Damon the principal shareholder of Behaviour with nearly 60% of the voting rights.

Pared-down entity

The restructuring marks the end of Szalwinski’s tenure atop Behaviour, which has bled red ink since the software entrepreneur bought the company (then Malofilm) four years ago. Over the past year, Behaviour has sold off most of its assets aside from L.A.-based Behaviour Worldwide, which was run by Damon. In recent months, it sold its Canadian film distribution division and its digital studio. Damon teamed with Behaviour in March 1998, when Behaviour acquired Damon’s foreign-sales company, MDP Worldwide, for approximately $19.3 million in cash and shares.

“Now that we’ve gotten rid of all those losses, it upwards from here” said Damon. “The company has a real shot at showing sustained profitability. Behaviour Worldwide was in a state of stasis for nine months to a year, and now we’re ramping up.”

New projects

Damon is prepping “D’Artagnan,” a $45 million project, and the $25 million “Extremists,” which will shoot in Canada with Montreal helmer Christian Duguay directing.

With the re-financing, Behaviour, which was on the verge of financial collapse, is back in business. The company will benefit from the conversion of $5.7 million of debt to equity.

BHVR will invest $5.5 million into a new convertible subordinated debenture. Also, it was announced that BHVR and the Mark and Margaret Damon Trust have agreed to forgive previous cash debt of approximately $1.8 million. In addition, Damon will convert outstanding installment notes issued by the company with a face value of $5.7 million into 63 million class-B voting shares in Behaviour.

Upcoming pics from Behaviour include “Love and Sex,” with Famke Janssen and Jon Favreau, due in theaters this summer via Lions Gate, and thriller “The Body,” toplining Antonio Banderas, which just completed lensing.

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