Bac vid biz lunch for Wild Bunch

Toon house Millimages to take control of distrib under deal

PARIS — Gallic distrib Bac Majestic is selling its video businesses to international sales outfit Wild Bunch, the two companies announced Friday.

For Bac, the deal ties in with a process of restructuring that will see Gallic toon house Millimages take 51%-58% of the company next month.

As for Wild Bunch, the move marks the next step in its plans to go beyond pure sales. “We want to be in the video market. it is one of our objectives for growth along with French theatrical distribution, which we hope to have in place by the end of this year,” Wild Bunch’s Brahim Chioua told Daily Variety.

The holding company Exception Wild Bunch will take 100% of Wild Side Video and 50.1% of Wild Side Films, which acquires all French rights, especially to classic films. The two companies employ 12 people and earn annual revenues of around $18 million. Wild Side Video possesses a catalog of 200 films while Wild Side Films holds the French rights to more than 110.

The similarity with the name Wild Bunch is coincidental, Chioua said — although there is a link between the team at ex-StudioCanal outfit Wild Bunch team and Manuel Chiche, Wild Side’s managing director and a 49.9% shareholder in Wild Side Films, who is another former StudioCanal employee.

Chiche was responsible for U.S. indie film acquisitions for the French market and headed up StudioCanal’s French video activities before ankling the Canal Plus subsid to set up Bac’s video arm in 2002.

According to a commercial agreement also announced Friday, Wild Side Video will continue to handle video distribution for Millimages and Bac, while Bac Majestic will continue to theatrically distribute Wild Side films in France. Wild Side Video’s products are physically distributed by MGM Home Video.

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