Los Angeles, Feb 10  Saul Zaentz Co, which owns the rights to ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’ and other titles from author J.R.R. Tolkien, is set to sell its holdings and open a revenue stream with merchandising, gaming and live event rights, reports Variety.

Zaentz Co has hired ACF Investment Bank to handle the sale process, which is unfolding this week as bankers make the rounds of the logical Hollywood buyers. As per Variety, the Tolkien properties are projected to fetch at least $2 billion, based on recent high valuations for top-tier IP and content producers. However, representatives for Zaentz Co and ACF have declined to comment for Variety.

The move has been carefully sketched by Zaentz Co as Amazon is set to premiere the TV series rendition of ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise, ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ on September 2.

Zaentz Co also exercises rights over limited matching rights in case the Tolkien estate decide to make movies or other content based on two compilations of Tolkien writings, ‘The Silmarillion’ and ‘The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth’, both of which were published after his demise in 1973.

Saul Zaentz, a film and music entrepreneur, had acquired film adaptation and other rights to the various Tolkien titles in 1976. The deal between Zaentz and Tolkien estate accidentally missed out on the right to produce a TV series that was longer than eight episodes. Leveraging this loophole, Amazon directly struck a deal with the Tolkien estate for ‘The Rings of Power’ series in 2017 when the Tolkien estate shopped the TV series.

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