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Image Retains Financial Advisor Lazard Freres

11 Apr, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

It would appear Image Entertainment is taking a good look in the mirror.

The Chatsworth, Calif.-based producer and distributor April 10 announced it had hired Lazard Freres & Co., a Los Angeles-based investment banker.

Lazard will undertake a thorough review of Image's businesses and strategic options, including outlining to a special committee of Image's board of directors the “best course for the company and all of its stockholders,” according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The special committee, made up of independent directors of the company, will examine all potential strategic and financial opportunities to maximize long-term value,” said special committee chairman Ira Epstein.

Lazard is no stranger to home entertainment, having worked with Hollywood Video when Blockbuster Inc. was pursuing the chain prior to its acquisition by Movie Gallery.

Image management is under pressure from its second largest shareholder, Lionsgate, to better explain how it is acting in the best interest of stockholders.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Lionsgate last month said it was considering submitting a slate of directors for Image's 2006 annual shareholder meeting. Last October, Lionsgate attempted to acquire Image for $80 million to $90 million, which the distributor rejected as inadequate.

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