Senior HTF Member
- Aug 3, 2001
Video Business magazine reports:
Artisan Entertainment received a half-dozen or more non-binding bids to acquire the Gotham-based film and TV company by a Monday deadline.
It was believed one or more of the offers exceeded $100 million, with suitors now headed into due diligence. That's when prospective buyers will get access to an Artisan "data room" filled with company financial documents.
The Monday "soft deadline" had been extended from a previous date last week. It's likely even later offers for the company would be considered, if sufficiently lucrative for shareholders of the privately held company.
...Due diligence is expected to last two to three weeks. Thereafter, a deadline will be set for final, binding bids, with the whole process potentially wrapping by mid-July.
A participant in the process previously suggested shareholders such as Canadian broadcaster CTV or Chicago investment firm Richland Gordon could decide against selling their stakes with only the Boston-based Audax firm--a 26% stakeholder--figuring in a transaction. But another source said Monday that an acquisition of all current stakes is the most likely outcome.
"I would be very surprised if any bids would come in for less than 100%, or if they did, that they would be acceptable," said a rep of one bidder. "At least that's what we've been led to believe. We've (also) been led to believe that cash is king in this process."
That could mean that Lions Gate Entertainment, the publicly traded film and TV company, will attempt an outright acquisition of Artisan rather than a stock-based offer. The Vancouver- and L.A.-based company already has lined up prospective backers of such a move.
Other Artisan suitors include groups of individual investors, some currently involved in entertainment.
Those include a group led by producer Stanley Jaffe and former USA Films executive Scott Greenstein. And former Warner Bros. exec Jim Miller is believed to be collaborating with a private equity group out of London.
It wasn't immediately clear whether another intriguing partnership--involving Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and entertainment producer Todd Wagner--yet has made an offer for the company. Cuban's current 8% stake in Lions Gate had at least one well-placed source suggesting he and Wagner ultimately could help finance a Lions Gate bid for Artisan.
A party close to the Lions Gate bid suggested that even those with separate designs on Artisan ultimately will approach the Canadian company about a merger with Artisan.
"The next stop for anybody who does try to make a run at Artisan is to put it together with Lions Gate--there's no question," the source said. "They're mirror images of each other, and day one you would eliminate $20 million of overhead. You don't need two accounting departments, for instance."
With Lions Gate generally thought to have a stronger theatrical department than Artisan, and Artisan boasting stronger home video operations, it could also prove possible to collapse significant other infrastructure.
...No major studio is believed to be seriously eyeing an Artisan acquisition. Such a move would represent a simple library acquisition--Artisan has a 3,500-title catalog--and would likely fall below current owners' minimum selling range.Please see the article for the full text.
The way this reads, it was public info for a while now that I think was something I should have known about, but it got under my radar somehow. Did anyone else know about this? Did I miss that thread?
Why am I posting this in software? Well, it definately jumps into my head to consider that this has a LOT to do with why we aren't seeing Twin Peaks this year, eh?
I mean, if Universal would hold off on season sets of shows like Dragnet and Law & Order because of an impending aquisition of their studio, then why wouldn't Artisan do the same?