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MMC Studios, One of Germany’s Biggest Production Facilities, Changes Hands

Germany’s MMC Studios, which has hosted such recent international productions as Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller “7500” and Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition film “The Traitor,” is changing hands.

Frankfurt-based investment company Novum Capital has acquired the facility in Cologne, one of Germany’s biggest film and TV studios, from Luxembourg private equity fund Lenbach Equity Opportunities I. The transaction was announced Wednesday, a day after its completion. Novum plans to merge MMC with its subsidiary Crosscast, a production company specializing in live broadcasts.

While MMC remains a leading studio and financing partner for film producers, it also boasts increasing TV business, with hit shows such as RTL’s “Let’s Dance” and ProSieben’s “The Masked Singer,” which are both broadcast live from the studio. The company saw 60% growth in show productions last year, from 190 to 320, of which 37 were broadcast live.

“The merger will provide new growth impulses based on the strong existing studio business,” Novum said in a statement.

The company said it planned to expand MMC’s business operations “in the field of external transmission.” Crosscast managing directors Jens Wolf and Hacik Kölcü will support MMC’s managing team, which includes MD Philip Borbély, who also co-heads the studio’s co-production division, MMC Movies Köln, with Bastie Griese.

Munich-based DUBAG Investment Advisory advised the Lenbach fund on the acquisition and re-orientation of MMC over the past few years. DUBAG partner Michael Schumann described Novum as “a proven growth expert” that would use Crosscast to strategically develop MMC.

“Arctic” helmer Joe Penna is set to shoot his sci-fi thriller “Stowaway,” starring Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette, at MMC in July. Los Angeles-based XYZ Films is co-producing the film with Cologne-based Augenschein Filmproduktion and Berlin’s Rise Pictures.

Augenschein also produced Patrick Vollrath’s “7500,” which hits German theaters July 18 via Universum Film. Amazon Studios holds worldwide rights to “7500” outside of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Other notable films that have shot at MMC include Bille August’s “55 Steps,” starring Helena Bonham Carter and Hilary Swank; Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama, “Only Lovers Left Alive,” with Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton; Vibeke Idsøe’s “The Lion Woman”; and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 classic, “Amélie.”

MMC is among Germany’s biggest studios, along with Studio Babelsberg outside of Berlin and Bavaria Studios near Munich.

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