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Access Entertainment buys Packer out of RatPac

Access Entertainment has bought James Packer out of PatPac Entertainment, the US production company the latter founded with Brett Ratner.

The deal hands the media arm of Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Packer’s stake in the RatPac business and a “major piece” of the RatPac-Dune Entertainment venture that co-finances Warner Bros. Pictures films.

Danny Cohen

Danny Cohen

Access Entertainment president and former BBC Television director Danny Cohen will become co-chairman of RatPac along with director Ratner, who is keeping his shares and remaining CEO.

For Access, the deal comes after it launched a premium drama financing venture with BBC Worldwide and Lookout Point, bought a 25% stake in Jane Tranter’s Bad Wolf, and took a stake in House Productions.

For RatPac, having Cohen and industrialist Blavatnik on board will “accelerate” an “already growing television business”.

“Len and I have shared the same vision and passion for movies, television and music over the years,” said Ratner. “Because of his experience and enthusiasm, RatPac Entertainment will be an even more formidable provider of quality entertainment worldwide.”

RatPac’s partnership with Dune has seen the pair co-finance movies such as Gravity, The LEGO Movie, Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice since 2013. The existing deal with Warner Bros. is planned for up to 75 features.

“The RatPac development slate has great creative strength and we will be working hard to maximise all aspects of the business across development, financing and production,” said Cohen, who joined Access last year after leaving UK pubcaster the BBC.

The outgoing Packer is a former owner of Australian commercial channel Network Nine. Since the death of hisfather, businessman Kerry Packer, in 2005, he has been selling off his media assets, with the launch of RatPac four years ago his only new play in entertainment besides briefly owning a stake in Network Ten in 2010.