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Lionsgate expands into television syndication business

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MUMBAI: US independent film studio Lionsgate has acquired television distributor Debmar-Mercury.

Helmed by Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, the company will continue to operate under the Debmar-Mercury banner as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Debmar-Mercury recently completed a successful test of Tyler Perry's TV shows (Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion and the upcoming Daddy's Little Girl), the comedy series House Of Payne with select major market stations representing a cross section of key station groups. Lionsgate's acquisition of Debmar-Mercury extends the company's relationship with Tyler Perry across not only feature film and video product but original television programming, as well.

The acquisition follows on the heels of Lionsgate's successful move into international feature film and library self-distribution, through the October 2005 acquisition of UK-based distributor Redbus, which was renamed Lionsgate UK. It also creates a major new distribution portal for Lionsgate by giving it the capacity to syndicate its own television programming and feature film packages as well as creating a new television distribution revenue stream from third-party franchise properties.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer says, "We again have the opportunity to combine our resources with a culturally similar, entrepreneurial company that is a leader in its market segment and whose principals we know well.

"Debmar-Mercury has become one of the leading independent distributors in the industry. With our fiscal 2007 slate of nine prime time television series, the acquisition of Debmar-Mercury's television distribution capabilities across new and traditional media outlets is a natural growth opportunity for our content business."

Feltheimer noted that the acquisition continues to further Lionsgate's game plan of broadening its distribution footprint and aggregating rights to important content and properties.

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