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Liberty Closes First Stage of IDT Buy


Liberty Closes First Stage of IDT Buy

Liberty Media Corp. has officially taken control of all of the U.S. and certain international operations of IDT Corp.’s entertainment division during the initial stage of its acquisition plan. The move comes as IDT Ent. gears up for the release of its first theatrical CG feature, Everyone’s Hero, which arrives on the big screen on Sept. 15.

IDT’s entertainment division will be combined with Liberty subsidiary Starz Entertainment Group and will be attributed to the Liberty Capital Group. The transition will be complete once the sale of the Canadian and Australian operations is complete, which is expected to happen in the next several weeks.

“Joining IDT Entertainment and Starz will allow both to benefit and grow as part of an integrated media organization with substantial programming production capabilities and access to all distribution outlets,” says Liberty president and CEO Gregory B. Maffeim, “And this transaction advances our strategy of converting passive assets into operating business units.”

“In a few short years, IDT Entertainment grew from a start-up to a producer and distributor of first class animated and live action programming,” adds IDT Corp. CEO Jim Courter. “The next phase of its development will be directed by Liberty Media, a company with a record for realizing the potential of media and entertainment assets.”

Everyone’s Hero, previously known as Yankee Irving, is the story of a young boy who teams up with a talking baseball to return Babe Ruth’s stolen bat in order to save the World Series. Featuring a voice cast led by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy, the movie was being directed by actor/director Christopher Reeve at the time of his death. Animation was produced at IDT Entertainment Animation’s studio and distribution will be handled through IDT’s multi-picture deal with Twentieth Century Fox.

IDT Ent. joined forces with Vanguard Animation (Valiant) to produce its next animated feature, Space Chimps. Produced by Vanguard CEO and Shrek producer John H. Williams, the comedy will follow the galactic misadventures of a hapless descendant of the first chimps in space. The pic will also be released in theaters by 20th Century Fox.

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