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IDT Ent. Acquiring Video Distributor For The Holidays

IDT Entertainment plans to wrap up the holidays by acquiring yet another entertainment company, buying home video distributor, Anchor Bay Entertainment Group, from Handleman Co. for about $60 million. With this purchase, expected to clear in late December 2003, IDT adds an important a vital distribution component to its rapidly, escalading entertainment empire. Anchor Bay licenses, markets and distributes a vast collection of films, television shows and direct-to-video programming for home entertainment through mass merchants and specialty stores.

Anchor Bay would become an operating unit of IDT Ent. a subsidiary of IDT Corp, a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company. Steve Brown, IDT cfo, said that Anchor Bays management structure would remain intact, as it has with the companys other recent acquit ions. However, IDT is finalizing arrangements to bring in former Sony Wonder ceo Ted Green to head Anchor Bay, which will continue to operate out of its Troy, Michigan headquarters.

Anchor Bay has a library of more than 3,500 owned or licensed titles in a variety of genres, including: childrens (the THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE series), fitness, (the CRUNCH series and the FOR DUMMIES series); horror (films and series such as HALLOWEEN, THE EVIL DEAD, HELLRAISER and DAWN OF THE DEAD); television, (HIGHLANDER, XENA, HERCULES and THREES COMPANY) plus theatrical.

With the acquisition of Anchor Bay, IDT Entertainments strategic plan moves into high gear, said Jim Courter, IDTs ceo. Just as IDT Corp. succeeded by providing consumers with superior global telecom products and services, so too will IDT Ent. succeed by providing the public with the best in world class animation programming.

IDT also just completed its purchase of a controlling interest in CGI animation house, Mainframe Ent. in Vancouver. Earlier this year IDT acquired Film Roman, a minority interest in Vanguard Animation, LLC and formed Digital Production Solutions, its computer animation unit. These transactions amounted to a $40 million investment.

IDT Entertainment now has all the elements in place to build an entertainment industry powerhouse, said Morris Berger, ceo of IDT Ent. We have content weve acquired and created, a production capability to bring it to life and now, with the acquisition of Anchor Bay, the distribution channel to deliver it to the public. Berger said they plan to expand the focus in Anchor Bays catalog and enlarge its library.

Next on the IDT shopping list will be theatrical and television distribution entities and dont be surprised if licensing/merchandising is added to the pie in the coming year.

Newart, New Jersey-based IDT Corp., through its IDT Telecom, Inc. subsidiary, is a facilities-based, multinational carrier that provides a broad range of telecommunications services to its retail and wholesale customers worldwide.