Mubi Buys Majority Stake in European Indie Distributor Cinéart (EXCLUSIVE)

Arthouse streamer and distributor Mubi has acquired a majority stake in leading Benelux indie distributor Cinéart, further bolstering its global firepower as it continues to expand outside of its core streaming business.

Financial details of the deal were not revealed, but the acquisition will see Cinéart’s management team continue to lead the company as an independent European distributor, with no changes in operations. Cinéart will maintain its current team structure and slate of films, and will carry on working closely with its long time partners. Co-CEOs of Cinéart, Marc Smit and Stephan De Potter, will remain significant shareholders of the company.

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Founded in 1975 by the late Eliane Dubois, Cinéart has offices in Amsterdam and Brussels and has released numerous prestige independent films, including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Artist,” “Amour,” “I Daniel Blake,” “Deux Jours Une Nuit,” “Son of Saul,” “The Worst Person in the World,” “The Whale” and current awards contender “The Zone of Interest.”

“I’ve known and worked with Marc and Stephan for over 15 years, and admire what they’ve done with Cinéart,” said Efe Cakarel, founder and chief executive officer of Mubi. “They are two of the most sophisticated and visionary operators in the business. We are delighted to be partnering with them and the whole team at Cinéart, and can’t wait to bring more great films to audiences in Benelux together.”

Mubi and Cinéart recently partnered on the theatrical release of Sofia Coppola’s latest film “Priscilla” across the Benelux region, with the movie earning more than $1 million at the local box office so far. The two companies previously collaborated on a number of content deals, with hundreds of Cinéart’s feature films added to Mubi’s streaming service in Benelux, including Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory” and Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”

“This tie-up will create a formidable force. We strongly believe in Mubi’s vision and integrated business model,” Smit said. “In addition to co-acquiring films with Mubi, Cinéart will continue to buy great films itself to distribute in Benelux just as before.”

Added De Potter: “We strongly believe in the power of cinema, and finding a partner to share the same passion was key. This new partnership will enable us to continue adapting to an ever-changing world — with the promise of still doing what we do best and even better.”

The deal with Cinéart marks the first acquisition of a distributor by Mubi, which has become one of the most aggressive shoppers for arthouse films at recent markets as well as pushing into its own productions. In early 2022, it turned industry heads with its first major company acquisition, buying hugely well-respected European sales outfit The Match Factory and its production arm Match Factory Productions.

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