Suma Capital takes a 40% stake in a contracorriente

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Barcelona-based private investment fund Suma Capital has acquired a 40% stake in Adolfo Blancos A Contracorriente Films to increase the Spanish distributor’s film acquisition capacity and make it one of Europe’s leading indie distributors.

The investment, estimated at around 15 million euros, combines a capital increase with the purchase of shares in some minority partners.

Under the siblings Adolfo Blanco, CEO, and Amalia Blanco, President, the well-known management team of A Contracorriente will keep control of the company and continue the day-to-day business.

Suma Capital’s financial support will accelerate A Contracorriente’s transformation and help evaluate various strategic alternatives, both organic and non-organic expansion.

“It is clear that part of our natural growth has to come from taking on larger budget projects,” Adolfo Blanco told Variety.

“Since we are a very active distributor of film releases – around 30 a year – the way to improve is to replace smaller or less commercial films with others that are more commercial and have a higher budget,” said Blanco.

A primary measure for A Contracorriente’s new acquisitions policy is the US market, where the Spanish distributor is already talking to several producers and sales representatives to test formulas that will allow access to world-class film productions.

“We will take advantage of opportunities that we sometimes ignored out of business caution. Now we are not going to lose that prudence, but we are clearly going to gain the clout that is needed in this business, ”added Blanco.

“We are excited to bring our commitment to the project led by Adolfo and his team to see that they have all the resources they need to cement their position as leaders in the growing audiovisual content sector,” said David Arroyo, partner at Suma Capital, which channeled operations through the investment vehicle Suma Capital Growth Fund II.

A Contracorriente was founded in Barcelona in 2009 and is currently the largest indie film distributor in Spain and manages an extensive and diversified catalog with more than 1,500 films and TV series titles in cinemas, pay and free TV channels and VOD. platforms are sold.

The group’s editorial line consists of quality films suitable for the general public. It mainly focuses on comedies and family films.

Contracorriente’s acquisition team has demonstrated a great ability to identify, acquire and distribute some groundbreaking film productions such as “The Intouchables”, “The Father”, “Serial (Bad) Weddings”, “The Best Summer of My Life” . “Mia and the white lion” and “Ballerina” among others.

The group has a unique and vertically integrated business model in the Spanish audiovisual market and is present throughout the value chain.

It operates in the Spanish exhibition sector through Cines Verdi and Cines Conde Duque, two well-known brands, with five emblematic cinemas in Madrid and Barcelona with a total capacity of over 4,000 seats.

The company co-produces three to four films per year and secures the worldwide distribution rights to Spanish and international films such as Isabel Coixet’s worldwide hit “The Bookshop” from 2018.

“Carpooling”

Closely linked to the current market dynamics, the co-production represents a further growth factor for A Contracorriente. It recently co-produced with Eduardo Campoy’s Álamo Producciones Martín Cuervo’s comedy “Con quién viajas” (“Carpooling”), which had its world premiere at the Malaga Film Festival in June of this year .

“Right now it’s easier to start certain film projects if you do it from the start, and the best way is to be a co-producer,” argued Blanc.

“There are movements with international production companies to develop vehicles that invest in co-productions to ensure titles with maximum potential,” he revealed.

In the digital arena, A Contracorriente launched the online streaming platform Sala Virtual de Cine, a Spanish TVOD film service that works with cinemas to complement its traditional business, in early 2020. It also operates special film channels Cines Verdi TV and Cine Feel Good Verdi TV.

Houlihan Lokey, headquartered in LA, acted as financial advisor to the shareholders of A Contracorriente and Araoz & Rueda acted as legal advisor to the group. Bufete Castilla, KPMG and Attalea Partners advised Suma Capital on the operation.

A Contracorriente Films becomes the third investee of Suma Capital Growth Fund II after participating in the Basque training program Implika and Npaw, an online video analytics software company based in Barcelona.



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