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Mark Cuban puts Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures up for sale

'If we don't get the price and premium we want, we are happy to continue to make money from the properties,' says the media entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

April 20, 2011|By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

Dallas Mavericks owner and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban confirmed Tuesday that he has put Landmark Theatres, the nation's leading theater chain showing specialized movies, and his production and distribution company Magnolia Pictures up for sale.

"Prices for entertainment properties are up," Cuban said in an email. "If we don't get the price and premium we want, we are happy to continue to make money from the properties."

Bids are expected as early as next week, according to Bloomberg, which first reported news of the auction.

Landmark operates 296 screens at 63 theaters in 17 states, including its flagship theater in West Los Angeles. Cuban and his partner Todd Wagner bought the Landmark chain, at one time under bankruptcy protection, from Oaktree Capital Management in 2003. They invested heavily in expanding and upgrading the circuit, including spending $20 million on its 2,000-seat, 12-screen multiplex at the intersection of Pico and Westwood boulevards.

Magnolia Pictures distributes independent films, such as James Marsh's 2008 documentary "Man on Wire," about tightrope walker Philippe Petit, and last year's love story and murder mystery "All Good Things," starring Ryan Gosling. The company's home-entertainment arm also releases films simultaneously with their theatrical debut via cable channel HDNet, also owned by Cuban and Wagner.

"Given our unique position of enabling VOD day-and-date with theatrical, we wanted to test the market,'' Cuban said.

However, most theater operators, including the nation's largest circuits — Regal, AMC and Cinemark — have been alarmed by Hollywood studios' plans to accelerate the early release of movies in the home through video-on-demand services. They fear that such offerings would significantly undermine ticket sales.

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