German distrib VCL buys film fund

Equity was subject of recent probe into film financing

BERLIN — Distrib VCL Film + Medien has taken over Equity Pictures, the private investment film fund that financed the likes of Bruce Willis starrers “Hostage” and “16 Blocks” as well as Brian De Palma’s “Black Dahlia.”

Move follows a recent probe of Equity by German prosecutors examining the legality of film fund financing.

VCL subsidiary, Allied Film Management, will take an 85% stake in Equity, with the remaining 15% being incorporated into VCL via a capital increase of $1 million in new shares.

A regular partner of Avi Lerner’s Nu Image/Millennium Films, Equity also backed “The Wicker Man” and the upcoming “88 Minutes,” “Rambo IV: In the Serpent’s Eye” and “Lonely Hearts.”

VCL said the price tag for Equity was in the “upper single digit millions of Euros,” adding that the deal would be financed through a loan from a hedge fund.

It’s the second time VCL has taken over the assets of a film fund. In 2004, company bailed out Cinerenta by swapping a stake in its biz for a chunk of the fund’s catalog, which included films such as “Prozac Nation” and “Jeepers Creepers.”

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