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7 February 2000

February 2000: Acquisition of Hammer Film Productions Limited

February 2000: Acquisition of Hammer Film Productions Limited


7 February 2000

Hammer Film Productions Limited, one of the great names in the history of the cinema, was acquired on Monday 31 January by a private investment consortium.

The consortium brings together an exceptional group of media and entertainment entrepreneurs, including:

• Larry Chrisfield, doyen of entertainment tax advisers, chairman of the British Film Commission and former head of the UK Entertainment and Media Group of Ernst & Young

• Rob Dickins, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), former chairman of Warner Music and now the founder and chief executive of new music company Instant Karma

• Neil Mendoza, chief executive of Forward Publishing, one of the UK's fastest-growing companies, director of Brilliant Books and former director of Albion Films

• Charles Saatchi, co-founder of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising

• William Sieghart, chairman of Forward Publishing and Brilliant Books

The recapitalised and reinvigorated company plans to make an early return to film and television production and to build Hammer into the leading horror brand in all media, including internet distribution and e-commerce.

The company will add to its already substantial library of film and television programmes.

"Hammer is the strongest name in horror," says new chairman Larry Chrisfield. "We have brought together an exceptional group of individuals who believe that in a fast-growing but volatile business such as entertainment, a strong brand in a perennially popular genre has enormous potential. Not only are the new opportunities in digital television and the internet multiplying the value of Hammer's existing assets, but digital production and distribution techniques enable us to add to those assets at low cost and low risk."

Departing chairman Roy Skeggs, who has been with the company since the mid-1960s and who has been the majority shareholder since the mid-1980s noted: "I am delighted to be passing Hammer over to a team which brings an excellent range of media talent to the company."

Roy and his son Graham Skeggs will continue to be associated with the company as consultants.

Management of the company will be with Terry Ilott and Peter Naish, partners in Bridge Media, the film management consultancy that co-ordinated the acquisition. Between them, Ilott and Naish have twenty-five years experience in film.

In addition to the substantial cash investment made by the investment consortium, the company has negotiated a credit facility with Barclays Bank Media Banking Centre, Soho Square, who were keen to participate, recognising the intellectual property value associated with the company.

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