"Hollywood Reporter": Yair Lapid to Head New Regency TV Division

Estimates: New Regency Productions's company value is $700-800 million. Owner and film producer Arnon Milchan has acquired 12.5% of Puma for $75 million.

Israeli journalist Yair Lapid has been nominated to head the new television division at New Regency Productions, owned by Arnon Milchan, according to the "Hollywood Reporter." New Regency produces television series based on its film productions, and develops additional series.

According to the "Hollywood Reporter," Milchan is considering terminating his long-term cooperation with Warner Brothers, which acts as distributor for New Regency films. Negotiations for a contract extension were halted last November and are scheduled to resume in May. The agreement between Warner Brothers and Milchan will expire in mid-1998.

Milchan, according to various sources, is very disappointed in his treatment by Warner Brothers during the sale of MGM Studios. Warner Brothers supported Milchan’s bid, but also promised support to rival bidder Morgan Creek Productions.

Milchan is interested in expanding activity to other areas such as music television and merchandising. To further this end, he has acquired 12.5% of sport shoe manufacturer Puma for $75 million, as well as options on an additional 12.5%. Milchan also purchased independent record label Restless for $15 million.

Milchan's films include: "The King of Comedy," "Brazil," "Once Upon A Time in America," "JFK," "Heaven and Earth," 'Natural Born Killers," "The War of the Roses," "Q&A," Pretty Woman," "Falling Down," "Guilty by Suspicion," "The Mambo Kings," "Under Siege," "Sommersby," "Made in America" and the 1993 sleeper hit "Free Willy." His most recent productions include "The Client," "Cobb," "Boys on the Side," "Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home" and "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory." New Regency's recent releases include "Copycat," "Heat" and "Empire Records."

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