Digital archives drives acquisition

Infrastructure provider drops coin on content

Infrastructure and content provider Destra has snapped up the content archives of both Central Station Records and MRA Entertainment for a combined sum of $14 million.

Destra will pay $12.5 million in cash and $1.5 million from financing to purchase the two companies. The acquisition is subject to shareholder approval, expected later this year.

Central Station Records and MRA Entertainment management staff will be retained as part of the deal.

Independent record label Central Station Records owns distribution rights for Australian music releases and remixes under the labels Wild, Skitz Mix and Fuzzy, as well as recent music releases by Dannii Minogue.

The MRA Entertainment catalog includes distribution rights to titles such as the Prehistoric Park series, Anne of Green Gables and Weekend at Bernies and more than 14,000 unique song tracks.

Glen Navratil, general manager of MRA Entertainment said the purchase will give MRA Entertainment a parent company with an agenda. Navratil said the company has no agenda to cut back on their physical delivery mode,l and from his point of view Destra has an online community that can expand the MRA distribution network.

"We are trying to evolve this business and have so far taken it from an independent distributor to entertainment provider of music and films as we have strong brands and licences," Navratil said.

"We have already rolled out digital services but only in a small way and this deal gives us the ability to expand here and overseas. On the music side we hold licences for between 12,000 to 14,000 tracks this year and we will soon have around 20,000 songs available and visual product, be they films or special interest content.

"Prehistoric Park was the number ten best seller of all DVDs in Australia last month and we will sell probably 40,000 units by Christmas. The potential of this deal is for online content delivery and there is definitely a market in Australia."

Dominic Carosa, CEO of Destra, said the company will develop brand extensions for specialized radio and TV content, adding MRA's licensed DVD and CD content offers lucrative opportunities for online distribution.

"MRA has invested in acquiring the Digital Rights to the majority of its audio catalogue, enabling us to take immediate advantage via our portfolio of existing digital music online assets, including," Carosa said.

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