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Company Town | Deals

May 14, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Film: Spurred by the popularity of U.S. films in Japan, Marubeni Corp., a giant Japanese trading company, and Toho-Towa Co. have agreed to invest $123 million in an international consortium supporting Paramount Pictures Corp.'s filmmaking ventures. In exchange, Marubeni and Toho get the rights to distribute the films in Japan, produce video products based on the films and sell the broadcasting rights to television stations, a Marubeni spokesman said Monday. Toho is an affiliate of one of Japan's largest film production and distribution companies. Other partners in the consortium are British Broadcasting Corp., Dutch firm PolyGram and Telemunich, a German film distribution company.

* Music: After months of tension, R.E.M., the superstar rock act from Athens, Ga., has parted ways with longtime manager Jefferson Holt. The quartet, which has sold 30 million albums, has no plan to replace Holt but will turn over management duties to attorney Bertis Downs, who has been with the band since 1981. The management shift comes at a time when R.E.M. is finishing the last album left on its Warner Bros. Records contract and is about to become the hottest free agent in the industry.

* Music: As expected, Orange County rock act Offspring signed a four-album, multimillion-dollar contract Monday with Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. Sources said the punk quartet, whose last album sold more than 8 million copies, has already written 17 new songs for its next album, which could be released on Columbia as early as October.

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