Image Entertainment, a large homevid indie that has been in play for the past three years, has found a new owner.
Nyx Acquisitions, a subsid of San Francisco-based Q Black Media, has agreed to pay $100 million to acquire the publicly traded company and take it private. Under the deal, expected to close by January at the earliest, Image shareholders will receive $2.75 per share, a significant premium over the 69¢ closing price on Thursday.
The deal seemingly puts an end to several years of uncertainty for the Chatsworth company, which fended off a hostile takeover bid by Lionsgate in 2005, then entered into a merger with David Bergstein’s BTP Acquisition Co. that fell apart earlier this year.
Q Media topper Joe Bretz got to know Image when it picked up Rob Schneider movie “The Chosen One” and eventually began talking with execs about a possible takeover. According to Image chief financial officer Jeff Framer, negotiations began in earnest during late summer.
Although shareholders still need to approve the deal, Image has pledged approval from stockholders owning some 38% of outstanding shares.
Both parties are interested in expanding Image’s productions, a key factor for Image, which fought off Lionsgate’s bid in large part because the mini-major was expected to scale back such initiatives. Even before the Lionsgate bid, Image had been trying to ramp up its theatrical film initiatives; it inked a deal with Relativity Media at one point, but that accord, like the one with BTP, fizzled, although Image continues to distribute Capitol Films productions on homevid.