While DreamWorks, Lionsgate and even Cash-Machine Manoj all have Indian capital to thank for their varying degrees of independence, Terry Semel is apparently courting a few billion dollars from Dubai as he nears a deal to acquire the management giant (and burgeoning media player) IMG. The ex-Warner Bros./Yahoo! kingpin has had his eye on Teddy Forstmann's hobby since at least June, when it was rumored Semel was knocking on a few gilded doors around the Middle East, hat in hand.
In a deal forecast by analysts back in March, New York broadcast titans Cablevision yesterday acquired the Sundance Channel for $496 million. The amount was nearly 25% higher than its valuation at the time, and it adds nearly $50 million to the wallet of minority shareholder and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford; his partners at NBC Universal and CBS pocketed the rest. While Redford is expected to stay with the network, it should undergo plenty of other changes — not the least of which will be its transition to a commercial-supported entity. What else would you expect from Sundance other than a word with its sponsors?
Bad-boy UK publisher Jamie Byng of Canongate has acquired world rights to litblogger Mark Sarvas' debut novel, Harry, Revised, in what Mark characterizes on his blog as a "'good preempt' (in the vernacular of Publishers Lunch, although it felt more like a 'fucking awesome preempt' to me)." Jamie has called Mark's book "the hottest début novel on the planet." And maybe it is! Sure! It's entirely possible that the same guy who writes sentences like: "[Jamie] has tucked Harry under his arm and is running hard, head down, to the end zone. For the last week, I've basically been going along for the ride, sitting in the eye of a hurricane" could write a perfectly great novel.
We hear that the auction for 'The Last Lecture,' WSJ reporter Jeffrey Zaslow's poignant life-affirming book about cancerous professor and daytime talk-show regular Randy Pausch, has ended. However, the two final bidders (most likely Hyperion and HarperCollins) are now having what's known as a "beauty contest," where they jockey to demonstrate to the author and agent that they'd do best by the author. Publisher's Lunch dismisses the $6.75 million figure Keith Kelly quotes as being in highly inflated "New York Post dollars," But since we heard $6 million on Monday, we're inclined to believe that publishers really are banking on ill-fated profs being the new ill-fated pets.