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Pair to Purchase Landmark Theatres Chain, Sources Say

Dallas Mavericks owner and a business partner reportedly will own equal shares of 55 art houses nationwide.

September 24, 2003|From Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a business partner are buying Landmark Theatres' 55 art-house theaters nationwide, sources close to the sale said Tuesday.

Cuban and partner Todd Wagner will own equal shares of the Landmark Theatres chain, which has been for sale since 2001, according to one of the sources, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The sources also said Wagner would become Landmark's chief executive, but declined to disclose a sale price.

Landmark Theatres, the nation's largest art-house chain, features first-run independent and foreign films, restored classics and nontraditional films in 54 theaters representing 185 screens in 14 states, the company said. The company owns movie theaters in six Los Angeles-area locations, including the historic Rialto in South Pasadena and the Nuart on the Westside.

The chain has struggled since 2000 when its parent company, Dallas-based Silver Cinemas International Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The troubled chain was later part of an $80-million sale to Toronto-based Onex Corp., the parent company of Loews Cineplex. The deal fell apart, however, because of antitrust concerns.

Cuban and Wagner made their mark in Dallas as co-founders of Inc., one of the biggest success stories of the dot-com boom. Yahoo Inc. bought the Dallas start-up in 1999 for nearly $6 billion.

A few months later, Cuban bought the Mavericks from Ross Perot Jr. in a transaction that valued the team at $280 million.

Cuban and Wagner also share investments in Rysher Entertainment, a major film library; Magnolia Pictures of Dallas, which aims to set up a distribution chain for art-house films; and Immortal Entertainment, a new California production company.

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