EXCLUSIVE: After being on the sales block since March, 25-year-old independent studio Lakeshore Entertainment has sold its 300-title film and TV library and international sales operations to Vine Alternative Investments, the same company that owns Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. While no comments were made by either party, industry sources inform us the value of the library was in the $200M neighborhood.
I understand that the Lakeshore principals — co-CEO/founder Tom Rosenberg, co-CEO Eric Reid, CFO Marc Reid and President Gary Lucchesi — will be announcing their next iteration of business in the coming weeks.
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Vine plans to make Lakeshore a feeder for Village Roadshow, a catalog that fits squarely into the parent’s corporate strategy. The Lakeshore portfolio includes such movies as Oscar-winning hit Million Dollar Bab;, the half-billion-plus-grossing Underworld franchise; and such prolific movies as Runaway Bride, Lincoln Lawyer and The Ugly Truth. That library also includes Roger Corman’s New World Pictures catalog, which Lakeshore acquired in 1996, that includes such pics as Heathers and the Hellraiser and Children of the Corn franchises.
Here’s the huge upside for the 13-year-old Vine with the Lakeshore library: The asset manager retains control of Lakeshore’s global distribution rights, copyrights and remake/sequel rights on most of its pics. That’s a unique scenario for an independent to control such distrib rights and IP, which often are piecemeal in a library-takeover deal. Lakeshore produced more than 70 of the pics in its library.
Vine’s acquisition of Lakeshore comes at an opportune time when streamers are in need of content, especially as Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney take control of their own properties for their own OTT services. On a separate note, just Tuesday, Viacom CEO and President Bob Bakish at the Vanity Fair Summit extolled his conglom’s future CBS merger in a streaming environment: It’s not just about each major studio having a streaming service; these rival OTT services will need content too, and that’s where Viacom/CBS steps in. Likewise, it’s where Vine is a player as well with Village Roadshow and Lakeshore. Simultaneously, it’s a mercurial time for the independent theatrical space which is being directed away from traditional motion pictures toward alternative content and distribution.
Lakeshore’s Rosenberg and Eric Reid have been in the foreign sales business and production and P&A financing since inception. Due to their established working relationships around town and with talent, they were able to conduct “studio-to-studio” partnerships with the majors who distributed their films stateside. Such deals are extremely rare among the independents. Lakeshore has been providing foreign sales and IP asset management to Vine for more than five years. Upcoming for Lakeshore is the horror film Brahms: The Boy II starring Katie Holmes, which STX will release on February 21.
Vine, a specialized asset manager that focuses on unique, non-correlated investment opportunities in the media and entertainment sector, has been acquiring intellectual property assets for a decade-plus. Since its founding in 2006, the firm has closed more than 20 transactions, investing more than $1 billion of capital in the media and entertainment Village Roadshow is enjoying a huge success with Joker, which is owning the autumn global box office and poised to be the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, with many projecting $900M+. Village Roadshow also is prepping Matrix 4 with Warner Bros.