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Nine goes on money hunt

Fund intends to bankroll three drama series

SYDNEY– The Nine Network and the Macquarie Bank Group kick off an Australian road show Monday to raise $A62.5 million ($32.5 million) from investors for TV and film productions.

The Macquarie Nine Film and Television Investment Fund intends to bankroll three drama series — “Young Lions,” the second skein of “McLeod’s Daughters” and a third to be decided — plus one telepic and up to eight films.

The prospectus was issued in March, but the marketing campaign was delayed until the fund received a product ruling from the Australian Tax Office, confirming its eligibility for a 100% tax deduction spread over three years. Ruling, issued Wednesday, is the first to cover a portfolio of film and TV projects rather than a single production.

A Macquarie Bank spokesman says feedback from potential investors has been favorable. Nine and Macquarie face a deadline of sorts, as tax-related investments usually are made by June 30, the end of the financial year.

The spokesman says the fund marketers should have a clear idea of the take-up by early June. The fund must raise a minimum of $10.4 million.

Among the films on the slate are the $5.7 million romantic comedy “Angel Face,” produced by Bryan Brown and Debbie Balderstone, and the $10.4 million “Fast Car,” a car chase pic through the Outback, with director Bill Bennett attached as producer. There are also two titles from “Moulin Rouge” producer Martin Brown: “Love Smarts,” toplining Portia de Rossi and directed by Steven Vidler, and “Seance,” helmed by Richard Franklin.