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Sony Creates Acquisitions Group

18 Jan, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Veteran home video executive Adrian Alperovich has been named senior EVP and GM of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, a new division that was recently split off from home entertainment.

Along with Lara Thompson, tapped as SVP, Alperovich will coordinate acquisitions activities within Sony Pictures Entertainment and look into locally produced international programming, as well.

Alperovich, a former top lieutenant to ex-Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Benjamin Feingold, reports to Peter Schlessel, president of the acquisitions group since it achieved autonomy four months ago. Acquisitions used to be under Feingold, but with the longtime president's ouster last September, it became its own entity, with a broader mandate. The division is now involved in acquiring and co-financing pictures for various Sony Pictures distribution platforms, including the company's digital distribution division.

Schlessel, who once served as president of Columbia Pictures, reports directly to Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, as does Feingold's successor at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, David Bishop. Schlessel began his career at Sony in home video, working first in business and legal affairs and then in acquisitions, before cofounding Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures specialty label, with Clint Culpepper in 1996. Four years later, he became president of Columbia Pictures, a post he held until 2004, when he left Sony to become an independent producer.

“These appointments emphasize Sony's commitment to its third-party acquisition business,” Schlessel said.

Alperovich previously was senior EVP of international for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In addition to overseeing international business for the unit, he played a key role in developing new business strategies, including the launch of DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Thompson, formerly VP of acquisitions for London-based Momentum Pictures, reports to Schlessel. She will be responsible for managing the Los Angeles-based acquisitions team as well as sourcing and assessing third-party projects for acquisition. While at Momentum, Thompson concluded deals on numerous titles, including Downfall, The Grudge 2, Crank, Broken Flowers and the upcoming Miss Potter.

In other changes at the new division, Scott Shooman has been promoted to executive director from his previous position as director of acquisitions for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, while Lia Buman has been appointed director, reporting to Thompson. Buman previously worked as a consultant to Mandate Pictures and Ghost House Pictures.

Fritz Friedman, the longtime SVP of worldwide publicity for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, will handle publicity for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, as well. He becomes a dual report, answering to Schlessel on the acquisitions side and Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, on the home video side.

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