Los Angeles, CA February 11, 2008: Norman Lear and Hal Gaba, co-owners of Concord Music Group (Concord), announced today that Village Roadshow Pictures Group (VRPG) and Concord have completed their merger resulting in the creation of a new diversified entertainment group, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group (VREG).
While VRPG and Concord will continue to operate as separate entities, the combination of these complementary film and music assets under common ownership provide compelling cross-platform opportunities. The union also creates a scalable corporate infrastructure enabling operating efficiencies and growth.
VREG is owned by Village Roadshow Limited (VRL), Act III Entertainment (a media investment firm co-owned by Norman Lear and Hal Gaba), Lambert Entertainment (owned by Michael Lambert), and private equity firms, Tailwind Capital Partners and Clarity Partners.
Hal Gaba, Chairman of Concord Music Group, and Graham Burke, CEO of VRL, will be Co-Chairmen of VREG. Long time VRL executive and CEO of VRPG, Greg Basser, will serve as CEO of VREG.
"There is a strong strategic fit between motion pictures and music content. The union will couple a broad film library with a vast catalogue of master recordings and publishing rights," said both John Kirby, Chairman of VRL, and Graham Burke. "We back people we believe in. With Concord management and the seasoned Village Roadshow Pictures Group executive team we have a combined music/film powerhouse that has an exciting future."
Norman Lear, Act III Chairman added: "Throughout my life, I’ve seen amazing things happen when creative people come together. The passion and expertise exhibited by the folks at Concord and Village Roadshow Pictures have separately produced great results. I can’t wait to see what happens as these two forces unite."
Glen Barros will continue in his role as President & CEO of Concord. Over the past few years, Concord has experienced significant growth and is one of the world’s largest independent music companies.
2007 saw further growth and the successful launch of the Hear Music joint venture label with Starbucks Entertainment, building upon a number of successful collaborations such as the Ray Charles’ GENIUS LOVES COMPANY project which won eight Grammy awards, including album and record of the year with 5.5 million in worldwide sales. Musical icons Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor and indie star Sia have all seen successful releases on this new jointly-owned label.
In a sign of its strength and unique position within the music industry, Concord significantly increased its market share and sales in 2007 fuelled by both the new Hear Music joint venture and the continued strength of the company’s catalog and recent new releases.
Bruce Berman, Chairman and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures Entertainment and Greg Basser will continue to lead the successful VRPG film production and financing business.
VRPG, which has co-produced more than 57 theatrical motion pictures that have grossed more than $8.2 billion at the box office, consistently provides quality content and entertainment with worldwide appeal.
VRPG’s HAPPY FEET won an Oscar® for best animated feature at the 2007 Academy Awards and the Will Smith smash hit holiday feature I AM LEGEND is still in release accumulating over $560million in worldwide box office results to date.
Upcoming VRPG releases include the Wachowski Brothers’ directed SPEED RACER and GET SMART staring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway in summer 2008.
VREG has secured funding commitments from J P Morgan Chase NA.
About Concord Music Group
Concord Records, established in 1973, has long been regarded as one of the world’s premier producers of jazz and traditional pop. In 2004, Concord Records acquired and merged with Fantasy, Inc., home to one of the world’s most prestigious catalogs of jazz, blues, R&B and rock music, to create the Concord Music Group. The following year, in December 2005, Concord acquired Telarc International Corporation, a leader in classical and jazz recordings for over 25 years.
Today, Concord is one of the largest independent record companies in the world and keeper of an extraordinarily rich, and, in many cases, historically significant, catalog of recordings from some of the most admired and enduring names in music. Concord is also the holder of a prominent catalog of music publishing rights. With over 5,000 albums, Concord’s catalog of master recordings includes titles by such legendary artists as Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie, David Brubeck, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi, Isaac Hayes, Manhattan Transfer, Thelonious Monk, Tito Puente, Mel Torme, Little Richard, and Otis Redding. Concord’s current recordings and releases include such world-class artists as George Benson, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Michael Feinstein, John Fogerty, Boney James, Al Jarreau, Erich Kunzel, Sergio Mendes, Ozomatli, The Rippingtons, Sonny Rollins, Angie Stone, Spyro Gyra and many more.
In 2007, Concord launched Hear Music, a joint venture label with Starbucks Entertainment. The first releases under this label were new recordings by Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Sia. In the future, the label will feature a full lineup of recordings by new and established artists in multiple genres.
About Village Roadshow Pictures Group
Village Roadshow Pictures Group is a leading independent co-producer and co-financier of major Hollywood motion pictures, having produced in excess of 57 films since its establishment in 1997 including, as co-productions with Warner Bros., The Matrix trilogy, I Am Legend, the Ocean’s series, Happy Feet, Mystic River, Analyze This, Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks’ Notice and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
VRPG self distributes its filmed entertainment through affiliates in several territories around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Singapore. Village Roadshow Pictures Group continues its success across many genres, grossing worldwide box office receipts of more than $8.2 billion to date.
VRPG is supported by a $1.4b revolving financing facility led by Rabobank.