Redbus Investments sold the majority of its share holding in Redbus film Distribution (RFD) and will continue to have a minority stake of just under 10 per cent in the company. Helkon Media AG acquired around 90 per cent of RFD in a deal worth GBP40 million.
RFD was formed in 1998 when Redbus committed GBP3 million to the company. The return on the initial seed investment from Redbus Investments in RFD has been extremely successful, said Cliff Stanford, founder of the Redbus Group. This was not only in financial terms, but also in the depth of commercial understanding that Redbus has gained of the film and video industry. So far in 2001 RFD has released David Mamet’s State and Main, the Gene Hackman & Morgan Freeman film, Under Suspicion, and Sam Raimi’s The Gift.
Stanford stressed that Redbus supported the company from the onset. When it reached profitability he saw it was time to sell and it was clear that the company would benefit from a partnership. Originally, Helkon Media was going to take a 50 per cent stake in the company, but then realised it would be more beneficial both from the point of view of management and RFD, if Helkon assumed total control.
It is hoped that the acquisition will help bolster Helkon’s plans to build a pan European distribution business.
Martin Heldman, chief executive officer of Helkon Media, said: “We are very impressed with RFD’s performance. They have certainly exceeded the expectations that we had when we commenced the acquisition process. Now completed, we are really looking forward to working with them closely and achieving our goal of building a pan European distribution business.”
RFD marks Redbus Investments’ first exit from its portfolio. The firm provides financial, operational and management support to British companies and individuals with new and innovative ideas. Cliff Stanford founded it in May 1998 following the sale of his company, Demon Internet, for GBP66 million. He earmarked GBP15 million to support Redbus ventures.
Last year, Stanford floated his first Redbus-branded company, Redbus Interhouse that was set up in July 1999 with an investment of GBP2 million.