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Lions Gate buys library

332 titles include 'Dancing,' 'Conan'

Lions Gate Entertainment is buying Scandinavia’s Modern Times Group library, home to 332 titles including “Dirty Dancing,” “Conan the Barbarian” and sequels from the “Halloween” horror franchise.

Financial terms were not disclosed Thursday.

Lions Gate prexy Steve Beeks said the acquisition brings the indie studio a “broad range of quality content and valuable long term VOD and TV rights, which further positioned the Lions Gate’s library to exploit future technologies.”

The titles, which had been culled from a number of libraries including those of Dino De Laurentiis and Vestron, were managed by Modern Times Group subsid Modern Entertainment.

Modern Entertainment licensed film rights to theatrical and DVD distribs, broadcasters and cable nets. Its Los Angeles office will close.

Deal unites all Vestron titles under one roof, including all rights to “Dirty Dancing,” already a major franchise for Lions Gate.

Lions Gate is planning a 20th anniversary theatrical and DVD release of the original film in 2007 and is reportedly considering making “Dirty Dancing” into a reality TV series. It sold more than 1 million units of the movie last year.

Wall Streeters were warm to the move, saying it gives Lions Gate a boost at a time when publicly traded indie studios — DreamWorks Animation and, to a lesser extent, Pixar — are facing investor scrutiny over falling DVD sales.

Lions Gate derives more than 20% of its annual revenues from its film library. It has 8,000 titles in its combined film and TV library.

Modern Entertainment is part of the Modern Studios division of Modern Times Group. MTG CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht said the decision was taken to sell because Modern Entertainment “is not part of our broadcasting operations or directly related to business in Europe.”

Lions Gate shares were down 10¢ to close at $9.24 in trading Thursday.

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