Bassetti withdraws Cecchi Gori bid

Move may let mogul hold on to library

ROME — Endemol chief operating officer Marco Bassetti has rescinded his bid to buy the film library of Vittorio Cecchi Gori, in a move that could allow Italy’s once mighty movie mogul to hold on to one of his key assets.

Bassetti in January had been the sole bidder for the 300-title package at an auction where the savvy Italo manager made a $48 million bid through a separate company he had set up with no ties to Endemol.

But it has emerged that Bassetti has since pulled out of the bid during the due diligence process after Cecchi Gori’s lawyers objected on procedural grounds to the sale, which is being handled by a Rome bankruptcy court.

The package of mostly Italian movies includes rights to Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning “Life Is Beautiful” and Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Everybody’s Fine,” a Hollywood remake of which starring Robert De Niro is expected to be released this year by Miramax.

The court is now considering a counterproposal by Cecchi Gori’s lawyers, who claim he is being prosecuted unjustly in the wake of his group’s financial meltdown.

Meanwhile, Cecchi Gori’s bankruptcy executors have received three bids for the group’s 33-screen Rome movie theater loop, which comprises the lucrative central Adriano multiplex, and 10 other cinemas in the Italian capital.

Before its botched attempt in the early 1990s to enter the TV sector and compete with Silvio Berlusconi, the family-owned Cecchi Gori group long dominated the Italian film industry.

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