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Database companies set to merge

H'wood Media acquires Studio Systems

A correction was made to this article on June 24, 2004.

HOLLYWOOD — Entertainment data company Hollywood Media has signed a definitive agreement to acquire widely used showbiz software provider Studio Systems for approximately $4.75 million.

Acquired company will be integrated into Hollywood Media’s Baseline/Filmtracker subsidiary.

Deal brings together the two biggest players in the Hollywood database space. Studio Systems and Baseline have been fierce competitors for the business of entertainment professionals looking to track film and TV projects. Two products, which execs estimate overlap about 70% in their data, will be combined into a single offering housed in Hollywood Media’s newly named Baseline StudioSystems division.

Deal, which closes June 30, calls for Hollywood Media to pay $4.5 million in cash and stock valued at $250,000. Studio Systems was previously the much larger technology company Creative Planet, and most of its existing shareholders are the dozens of venture capital firms who invested in its former parent company during the dot-com era.

Hollywood Media will continue to offer Studio Systems’ other products — development tracker InHollywood and script management application ScriptLog. According to a disclosure statement sent to stockholders, Studio System generated $2.6 million in revenue in 2003, most from its title application, and lost $809,694. Performance was better in the first quarter of this year, however, when the privately held company generated $114,136 in net income. As of March 31, it had $409,221 in cash and equivalents.

Acquisition brings Hollywood Media, which also operates a film showtime database and a number of consumer Web sites, additional market share in the showbiz database market and a more complete data set for its primary product.

“Entertainment data is the heart and soul of our company and this matchup give us the leading position by far in generating it,” said Hollywood Media CEO Mitchell Rubenstein.

Baseline prexy Rafi Gordon will continue to head the new division while Studio Systems CEO Gary Hiller will join Hollywood Media in an as-yet undetermined senior management role.

Integration of the two companies is expected to take three to five months.

Daily Variety and Studio Systems have an agreement to share news and data through each other’s online services.

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