LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The management team of Millennium Entertainment, led by CEO Bill Lee, and Virgo Investment Group LLC (“Virgo”), a private investment firm, today announced a partnership to acquire the Millennium Entertainment catalog assets and film distribution platform from a consortium of investors including majority shareholder Nu Image, Inc. (led by Avi Lerner and Trevor Short), White Horse Pictures’ principals Nigel Sinclair and Guy East and Prentice Capital. As a part of the transaction, the Company will undergo a name change and going forward the Millennium brand will be held solely by Nu Image’s subsidiary Millennium Films. Millennium Films is not a part of this transaction.
Bill Lee will continue as the Company’s CEO and all existing management are expected to remain in place. The Company and Virgo plan to grow the platform organically through investments in film content, expansion of the Company’s distribution services business and select corporate acquisitions that complement the Company’s core franchise.
Lee stated, “I’m proud of our team and thankful for our customers, clients, film production partners and bankers as we have grown the business over the last 3.5 years. This transaction creates new opportunities to further establish the Company as a leading, independent distribution platform for high quality content, with a customer-centric and content curation focus. I am pleased to invest my own capital alongside Virgo and am confident that Virgo’s values, ideas and resources will enable us to fully realize our business aspirations of building broader relationships with producers, talent and customers.”
“We share Bill’s vision for the Company and its continued growth is our priority,” said Mark Perez, Partner at Virgo Investment Group. “We believe the confluence of recent changes within the competitive landscape, expanding demand for new content, and the ongoing evolution of physical and digital consumption create an attractive market seam for innovative film distribution solutions. Consistent with our other asset-based investments in the media sector, we believe there is a unique opportunity to combine industry relationships and data analysis to drive enhanced returns on invested capital. The Company’s existing catalog provides a solid foundation of cash flows for additional investment in the business, and we are excited to partner with Bill and his team to drive value through differentiated marketing and monetization of content assets.”
Nu Image Chairman Lerner and COO Short said, “We’re very pleased that Millennium Entertainment has reached this milestone. A lot of hard work from a dedicated team has built Millennium into a prominent player, which is thriving in a competitive market. As opportunities arise we hope to continue to supply movies for release through the Millennium pipeline we helped to create.”
Stephen Prough of Salem Partners advised Millennium Entertainment in the transaction and Dan Rowe of Sword, Rowe & Company advised Virgo Investment Group. Schuyler Moore of Stroock was legal counsel for Virgo.
Millennium Entertainment has distributed over 300 feature films since its inception in November 2010 across the theatrical, digital, DVD, VOD and SVOD release windows. Currently the company is prepping the day-and-date release of Matthew Weiner’s (“Mad Men”) upcoming dramedy Are You Here starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler. Additionally, it is handling the ancillary release of the documentary James Cameron’s DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D. The film opened in theaters nationwide Friday, August 8.
The Company recently handled the theatrical release of Persecuted, starring James Remar opening the film on 700+ screens on July 18 through a service deal; the day-and-date release of Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta which has generated $6 million on VOD platforms to date; and the traditional theatrical release of John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, co-starring Turturro, Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara, which has grossed to date nearly $4 million at the box office.
Additionally, the Company handled the traditional theatrical releases of the critically acclaimed What Maisie Knew from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard and Steve Coogan; Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman, starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans; and Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed comedy Bernie starring Jack Black, who earned Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominations for his role in the film. The film also stars Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, and earned over $9 million at the domestic box office.
ABOUT VIRGO INVESTMENT GROUP
Virgo is an opportunistic, value investor. Virgo invests in market dislocations and areas of corporate change targeting both less efficient market segments and identified themes (or “market seams”) in the firm’s core industries. A theme-based approach to idea generation, coupled with proactive sourcing, a flexible mandate and creative transaction structuring skills, allows the firm to create differentiated opportunities and optimize risk-adjusted returns across market investment cycles. Virgo is an actively engaged investor that seeks to contribute ideas and human capital to the harvesting of value post-investment and has a successful history of partnering with founder entrepreneurs and management teams, like the team at Millennium Entertainment, to support their growth initiatives.
Founded in 2009, Virgo has invested nearly $600 million, completing 34 investments to date.
ABOUT MILLENNIUM ENTERTAINMENT
Formed in 2010, Millennium Entertainment is a leading, independent distributor of feature films with high quality casts. Millennium has strong relationships with theatrical exhibitors including AMC, Regal and Landmark. The Company also works directly with all major retailers, home entertainment and digital platforms that deliver films to consumers including Walmart, Target (where it represents 75% of all independent product), iTunes, and Netflix as well as the VOD platforms of the major cable system operators. The Company also owns a catalog of 665 film titles. Millennium Entertainment will be changing its name as a result of this transaction.
CEO Bill Lee, who has led the Company since its inception, has more than 40 years’ experience as a senior executive in the specialty retail and media sectors. Lee has a successful history leading teams in innovation and reinvention. Under Lee’s leadership, Millennium Entertainment has successfully released a wide variety of films across all distribution platforms. Prior to joining Millennium, Lee held various executive positions at Mosaic Sales Solutions, The Children’s Place, The Limited and Bloomingdales. Lee also served a short stint focused on reorganization strategies at Blockbuster initially as an operating partner on behalf of Prentice Capital.
SOURCE Millennium Entertainment