India-based Reliance Big Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in 3-year-old film sales/financing banner IM Global.
Stuart Ford, founder and CEO of IM Global, made the announcment Thursday with the start of the Cannes Film Festival a week away. The size of the stake wasn’t disclosed.
Move comes three months after the companies formed a partnership for IM Global to handle Reliance’s Hindi film output internationally. Ford’s company has grown increasingly active in funding features, with a quartet of pics in pre-production — Halle Berry’s “Dark Tide,” Kevin Costner’s “A Little War of Our Own,” “Protection,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Madonna’s “WE.”
“I don’t think there’s any other sales company that’s getting as much into production,” Ford told Daily Variety .
Ford’s holding company Ancramdale will retain a “significant” equity position and Ford will remain CEO under a multi-year deal. The company has offices in Los Angeles and London with 20 employees.
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“This extended relationship between the two companies ensures an increased capability for independent film financing by IM Global, an expansion into sales and financing for top tier non-English language cinema as well as selective rights acquisitions for India and other Asian markets,” the companies said.
Ford, the former head of Miramax Intl., founded IM Global in March 2007. The company’s slate last year included “Paranormal Activity” by Oren Peli and Tom Ford’s “A Single Man”; upcoming projects are Peli’s followup “Area 51,” Will Ferrell’s “Everything Must Go,” “The Astral,” “The Company Men” with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones and John Cusack thriller “The Factory.”
Reliance is backing DreamWorks Studios with $825 million. It also has development deals with Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films, Jim Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, Jay Roach’s Everyman Pictures, Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment, Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.