Roach Studios to Buy Ray Stark’s Production Unit

Times Staff Writer

Hal Roach Studios, which last June bought 20% of New York-based television film producer Robert Halmi Inc., reported Monday a new bid to broaden its scope by acquiring film producer Ray Stark’s independent movie production firm and joining Stark in a joint television production venture.

The parties said they signed a “non-binding letter of intent” for Roach to exchange an undisclosed amount of stock for Ray Stark Productions and its subsidiary, Rastar Productions.

At the same time, they announced a letter of intent for the television joint venture by Ray Stark and Roach Studios.

The Stark firms currently produce for Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures and Universal Studios. Current Stark releases playing are “Nothing in Common” and “Peggy Sue Got Married.” Stark himself will become a consultant at Roach Studios if the deal is completed, the announcement said.


Spokesmen for both the Roach and Stark firms said they did not know the approximate holding that Stark would obtain in Roach, pending negotiations on a definitive agreement expected by year’s end.

A year ago, as previously reported, Stark was part of a group of several well-known Hollywood figures who bought a total of 30% of the stock of Roach, which hinted at major expansion plans.

In obtaining the infusion of nearly $7 million of new capital, the Roach company had sold the group shares at less than half the prevailing market price.

Toronto-based International HRS Industries controls Roach with about 50% of the public firm’s outstanding shares.


In return for his initial $250,000 investment last November, Stark obtained a 1.12% stake in Roach.

Another well-known figure, A. Jerrold Perenchio, bought a 4.64% interest. Larger shares were obtained by new Roach Studios executives, President Robin French and Vice Chairman Hal Gaba, who had worked for Perenchio and Norman Lear at Embassy Communications until it was sold last year to Coca-Cola, parent of Columbia Pictures.

Roach Studios traded Halmi 5% of its stock as part of its deal, which broadened its entertainment business base with Halmi producing and Roach distributing films, including videocassettes.

On Sept. 26, Roach completed a $4.6-million initial investment in HR Broadcasting Corp., which was established to acquire two independent television stations in Milwaukee and Birmingham, Ala., for about $31 million.

One of the firm’s major activities is in the new field of computer colorizing of old black-and-white movies, through its 49.5%-owned Canadian subsidiary, Colorization Inc.

Roach Studios, which has operated in the red for several recent years while developing new operations, got into the black in the fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 21. It reported net income of $777,182, compared to a net loss of $212,829 in the same 1985 period.