After establishing itself as a source of pic production financing, private equity fund Media Rights Capital is looking to expand into distribution of movies, TV and digital content.
To spearhead the expansion, MRC co-chief execs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk have hired Lionsgate exec Marni Wieshofer as senior VP, corporate development and mergers and acquisitions. MRC’s potential acquisition targets include film distribution companies, cable outlets and digital platforms.
Wieshofer most recently had been exec veep of corporate development at Lionsgate and before that was the company’s chief financial officer.
During her tenure, she orchestrated the acquisition and integration of Mandate Pictures, Trimark Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Redbus Films Distribution U.K., Debmar/Mercury and Break.com.
MRC has so far made its biggest splash in films, currently underwriting a slate of features featuring talent such as Sacha Baron Cohen and Cameron Diaz and directors Robert Rodriguez, Ricky Gervais, Richard Kelly, Walter Salles, Bennett Miller and Todd Field (Daily Variety, Sept. 4).
MRC is expected to make a comparable foray into TV production (although activity on that front is hobbled by the writers strike). MRC also is engaged in the creation of digital content through pacts with thesp Raven-Symone and “Family Guy” creator/exec producer Seth MacFarlane.
With a range of production in its pipeline, MRC wants to augment its business by controlling some of the distribution of its projects. In addition to acquisitions, strategic ones like the deal MRC forged with Google for original material from MacFarlane and Raven-Symone are also being pursued (Daily Variety, Aug. 16).
“Now that MRC has succeeded in content creation, the idea is to expand in vertical integration in distribution channels, because sometimes it is more efficient and profitable to build or acquire means to do it yourself, at least in key strategic territories,” Wieshofer said. “MRC has partners like WPP, Goldman Sachs and AT&T. It’s exciting to be here, working with those companies operationally and strategically.”