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Universal is Talking with Gores Brothers to Possibly Sell Focus

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 11, 2010 at 1:52AM

The billionaire Gores brothers have been looking to set themselves up in the entertainment business. Tom and Alex Gores (advised by their Paradigm Agency chief brother Sam) chased after Overture Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment, and made a $550-million cash-offer for Miramax Films, but the deals went elsewhere. The Gores are moving forward with a long-term plan to start their own studio.
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Thompson on Hollywood

The billionaire Gores brothers have been looking to set themselves up in the entertainment business. Tom and Alex Gores (advised by their Paradigm Agency chief brother Sam) chased after Overture Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment, and made a $550-million cash-offer for Miramax Films, but the deals went elsewhere. The Gores are moving forward with a long-term plan to start their own studio.

And Universal's specialty division Focus Features has been sought-after several times, as Comcast closes in on its acquisition of NBC Universal. MRC and Relativity made stabs at acquiring it, but couldn't make the numbers work.

Now the LAT reports that the Gores brothers are trying to buy Focus. The folks at the division run by James Schamus (pictured), the subject of a laudatory recent profile in the NY Times entitled "The Professor of Micropopularity," are currently mounting Oscar campaigns for Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are all Right and Sofia Coppola's Somewhere. Sources say that the Gores are telling people that they are interested in buying Focus, and are engaged in a discussion with Universal.

One Focus exec says that they "know nothing. It's a rumor."


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.