Carlton buys stake in US film venture

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The Independent Online
CARLTON Communications, the media technology group, is investing dollars 15m in a new American film distributor.

Carlton said yesterday that it was buying a 10 per cent equity stake in Savoy Pictures Entertainment, set up by Lewis Korman and Victor Kaufman, two former senior executives of Columbia Pictures.

Carlton said the investment would provide new business for Technicolor, its film printing subsidiary. Savoy, which will finance the costs of printing and advertising films, is expected to appoint Technicolor as its print supplier.

The distributor is also expected to grant video rights for its films to Home Box Office, part of Warner, the Hollywood film studio. Home Box Office is also one of Carlton Communications' customers.

Other shareholders in Savoy include Jay and Tom Pritzkers, the American billionaires, Mitsui, the Japanese trading giant, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian media baron.

However, the venture has not won distribution rights to any new productions since being set up about five months ago. The founders have so far been concentrating on building up its capital base.

Mr Korman, Savoy's chief operating officer, said: 'We are very excited that a Carlton company will be stockholder in Savoy. We believe there will be a number of significant opportunities for our companies to work together.'

Carlton shares rose 4p to close at 614p yesterday.