Press Release by Intertainment AG
Intertainment and OpenPictures are geared to a strong future together
- Cooperation on US film productions
- Positive conclusion to the Intertainment lawsuits expected
Ismaning/Munich, July 9, 2003 - Media companies Intertainment AG, Ismaning near Munich and OpenPictures AG, Munich, have agreed a strategic partnership with the aim of strengthening operating business over the long term. It is conceivable over the medium term that OpenPictures may also acquire a strategic stake in Intertainment. This was confirmed by the CEOs of both companies in Munich today.
"Our partnership is geared to the long term. It is clearly focused on operations", explained Rüdiger Baeres, Chief Executive Officer of Intertainment. "We believe that we have found a very good partner in OpenPictures with a view to achieving our operating goals." The strategy is for OpenPictures to be involved in the development and production of joint films with Intertainment. "OpenPictures also intends to market individual territorial rights in the joint productions", said Dr. Stefan Piech, CEO of OpenPictures. It is conceivable that OpenPictures will already start getting involved in films that Intertainment is currently developing.
The two companies intend to exploit their good links to major Hollywood Studios within the partnership for the mutual benefit of both parties.
Intertainment has already granted OpenPictures the right to market films from the Intertainment film library in German-speaking territories. OpenPictures will concentrate in particular on exploiting the free and pay-TV rights for these films.
Baeres also gave a detailed explanation of the opportunities presented by the pending litigation against US film producer Franchise Pictures and the additional lawsuit against the other parties involved in the fraud, e.g. insurance companies. Intertainment filed a lawsuit against Franchise for damages amounting to at least 100 million dollars on account of inflated budgets. The legal dispute has been pending in Los Angeles since the end of 2000. Two RICO claims have been admitted by the court. RICO claims are a special feature of the American Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. They allow victims of organized criminality three times the amount payable in compensation for damages. If the trial is decided in favor of Intertainment, this would entail compensation for damages amounting to more than 300 million dollars.
The trial will begin on August 5 and the parties have been allowed 16 trial days. "We are anticipating a positive outcome for Intertainment", declared Piech. "The court responsible for the trial proceedings has already decided that specific budget items declared by Franchise did not exist. And Elie Samaha, CEO of Franchise has publicly admitted that the company operated with different levels of budgets", explained Baeres.
The strategic partnership also offers OpenPictures the option of getting involved in the costs of litigation against Franchise and any other legal costs resulting from litigation against the other parties involved in the fraud. "We will provide Intertainment with support in order to promote the continued future of the joint strategic partnership. We will ensure that appropriate damages are paid in compensation for this unique case in the history of the US film industry", stated Piech. "However, finance for the legal proceedings is subject to the agreement of Intertainment." Baeres added: "There are currently no grounds for seeking outside finance to fund the costs of the trial. However, we are very pleased to have a strong partner in the background when it comes to future proceedings."
Baeres and Piech did not exclude the possibility that OpenPictures might also take a stake in Intertainment. "We regard Intertainment as an attractive partner, although we are not interested in a majority holding", commented Matthias Graf Batthyany, Chief Operating Officer of OpenPictures.
Intertainment AG, Dr. Marietta Birner, Investor Relations, Osterfeldstraße 84, 85737 Ismaning, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 / 216 99 - 0, Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 216 99 - 11,
Internet: www.intertainment.de , E-mail: email@example.com
OpenPictures, Jörg Bretschneider/german communications, Holzdamm 28-32, 20099 Hamburg, Tel: +49 (0) 40/4688330, Fax: +49 (0) 40/478180, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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