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eOne buys Alliance for $230m, creating the UK and Canada’s largest independent distributor

After many months of speculation, eOne has entered into an agreement to acquire Alliance Films from affliates of GS Capital Partners and Investissement Québec for approximately $230 million.

Completion of the transaction will establish eOne as the largest independent film distributor in both the Canadian and UK markets.

The combined force will have a reach across Canada, the UK, Benelux, Australia, the United States and Spain.

“The combination of Entertainment One and Alliance Films will create the leading global independent film distribution business which alongside our Television and Family divisions will deliver a strong strategic platform for long term growth”, said Darren Throop, president & CEO, Entertainment One.

“As a result of the acquisition, eOne will be a more competitive business in each of the geographic markets that we serve, allowing us to act as a more valuable partner for content producers and expanding the quality and depth of the content that we offer to our customers”, he continued.

“eOne and Alliance Films share similar values,” said Victor Loewy, chairman and CEO, Alliance Films. “We both have a strong commitment to supporting film, culture and talent in Canada and in each of our territories. We also have passion for this business. Joining the eOne family will provide our dedicated teams and partners more opportunities to work with great films and film makers from around the globe.”

Alliance Films’ current slate includes Toronto opening night film, Looper, as well as other Toronto entries Place Beyond the Pines, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Dredd,  Anna Karenina, Seven Psychopaths, Silver Linings Playbook, Quartet, Lords of Salem, The Bay, Antiviral, Foxfire, Inescapable and Laurence Anyways.

Acquiring Alliance will give it Canadian rights to 11,000 titles including The Hunger Games. EOne’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is released in November.

Distributor, co-financier and producer Alliance comprises Alliance Films and Alliance Vivafilm (Canada); Momentum Pictures (UK) and Aurum Producciones (Spain).

Alliance’s strategic partnerships include exclusive distribution rights to films from Relativity Media in Canada and the UK and Summit in Spain; Focus Features, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company, and CBS Films in Canada; as well as ongoing relationships with FilmNation Entertainment, Exclusive Media, IM Global, Lionsgate International, Wild Bunch, Constantin Films, EuropaCorp and Nu Image in all three territories. 

In addition, Alliance has developed key production relationships including deals with Iain Canning and Emile Sherman’s See-Saw Films which produced the multiple Oscar winner The King’s Speech and Steve McQueen’s Shame; a joint venture with IM Global in production company Automatik; and a deal with Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum that has already generated the box office hit Insidious, among others;  and also, a co-production deal with Exclusive Media, Cross Creek and Hammer, for James Watkins’ The Woman in Black and its sequel.

eOne also has distribution agreements with local distributors in France, Germany, Scandinavia, New Zealand and South Africa. The company’s rights library includes 24,000 film and television titles, 2,700 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.

In August 2011, eOne announced that it would be ramping its US theatrical distribution operations The company also expanded its international film sales businesses and its international television operations in the UK and Europe last year.

The final acquisition is conditional on approval from the Canadian Competition Bureau. 

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