×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Avi Lerner’s Millennium Entertainment Up for Sale (EXCLUSIVE)

Company hires investment bank Salem Partners to help sell the distribution unit

Avi Lerner has officially hung out the “for sale” sign on his distribution shingle Millennium Entertainment after a potential deal to unload the company fell through earlier this year.

Lerner, whose firm Nu Image owns 60% of Millennium, hired boutique investment bank and advisory firm Salem Partners last week to shop the company, a person close to the transaction confirmed. Lerner and his company’s other owners believe Millennium could fetch between $60 million to $75 million, that person said.

Salem Partners, the Los Angeles-based firm which advised Rizvi Traverse on selling its ICM stake last year and Image Entertainment’s merger with RLJ, is expected to begin circulating information on Millennium to potential buyers before next month’s Cannes film festival. The parties hope to complete an acquisition by August.

Millennium’s other owners include New York-based hedge fund Prentice Capital and Exclusive Media, each of which hold a 20% stake. Exclusive bought into Millennium last September, with the idea of eventually buying the entire company.

But, while the two companies supposedly came close to a deal, talks broke down and a deal never materialized. As Variety reported in October, Exclusive had been attempting to raise between $30 million to $50 million with an eye toward expansion and potential acquisitions.

Salem Partners declined to comment, and officials from Millennium, Exclusive and Prentice Capital were not immediately available for comment.

With a deal with Exclusive now off the table, all three of Millennium’s owners are ready to put the company on the block.

Lerner’s decision to offload Millennium comes as no surprise to many observers as he claims to be more comfortable being a producer than distributor. Sale chatter has surrounded the company for months, as Millennium has fielded interest from potential buyers.

A strategic player – like a foreign sales company, for example – is the most likely buyer, suggests a source familiar with the situation.

Millennium’s roots are in the distribution operations at First Look pictures. The company acquired most of First Look’s assets out of bankruptcy in 2010, along with many of First Look’s key management, including Millennium’s current CEO Bill Lee. Millennium’s executive team is likely to be preserved in a sale, according to one individual familiar with the discussions.

Since the acquisition, that management has built a domestic distribution operation that includes pacts with most major media outlets, including Netflix and iTunes. Millennium’s assets include about 600 films, a significant portion of which are still in their first cycle (although the operating company is seen as more valuable than the library).

The company releases about 20 films a year, and insiders project about $13 million in cash flow in 2013. Millennium has “little debt,” according to one person with knowledge of its finances, and has an operating credit line through Pacific Mercantile Bank.

Millennium Entertainment does not produce its own films and operates separately from Lerner’s production company Millennium Films.

More Biz

  • Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs

    Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs Talk European Expansion

    If there’s a perfect example of Amazon Studios’ strategy with its local-language international TV content, Japan’s “Documental” would be it. The series revolves around 10 comedians who battle to make one another laugh in an elimination-style competition. James Farrell, Amazon Studios’ head of international originals, said it was a good example of an unconventional idea [...]

  • CENTRAL PARK FIVE

    Netflix and Ava DuVernay Sued by Police Interrogation Firm

    The company behind a controversial police interrogation technique filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, claiming that it was defamed in DuVernay’s miniseries on the Central Park jogger case. John E. Reid and Associates developed the Reid Technique in the late 1940s, and it has continued to offer training materials [...]

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger'Terminator: Dark Fate' film panel,

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Trades CAA for UTA

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has departed his former agency CAA and signed with UTA, which will represent the global superstar and two-time Governor of California in all areas. Schwarzenegger, whose films have grossed more than $4.7 billion worldwide, is set to reprise his celebrated role in the “Terminator” franchise, starring in “Terminator: Dark Fate.” He will also [...]

  • Patrick Moran

    Former ABC Studios Head Patrick Moran Signs Amazon Overall Deal

    Patrick Moran has signed an overall deal with Amazon, Variety has learned. The news comes around three months after it was announced that Moran would be exiting his role as president of ABC Studios following restructuring in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger. Under his new deal, Moran will work with Amazon Studios to [...]

  • Pamela Adlon

    Pamela Adlon Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Multi-hyphenate Pamela Adlon has signed with CAA for representation, Variety has learned exclusively. Due to the ongoing dispute between the Writers Guild and the talent agencies, however, CAA will not be representing Adlon for writing. In addition to writing, Adlon is an actress, producer, and director. She continues to be repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Talent Agent Joseph Eric Rice Dies at 61

    Joseph Eric Rice, a talent agent who headed JR Talent Group, died unexpectedly at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif. He was 61. Rice headed his own talent agency based in Studio City where he primary handled actors. Earlier in his career, he headed the theatrical department at Abrams Artists Agency. Rice was born in [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content