French distributor/exhibitor Bac Majestic (which handles both Miramax and StudioCanal titles) has sold its five Paris cinemas to Sophie Dulac (a French heiress who is partnering with arthouse exhibitor Jean Henochsberg, of Cine Classic) for a reported $5m.

Bac Majestic's theater circuit, Les Ecrans de Paris, which includes five high profile arthouse venues - the Majestic Passy, the Majestic Bastille, the Arlequin, the Escurial and Le Reflet - had been up for sale for some time. The most frequently quoted potential buyers were French financier Vincent Bollore, who has recently announced his intention to up his involvement in media and entertainment properties, and arthouse distributor/exhibitor Galeshka Moravioff, of Films Sans Frontieres.

Confronted with a choice between an investor with no experience of the arthouse exhibition sector and a specialist with limited financial means, Bac Majestic's Jean Labadie has turned to a partnership which offered the best of both worlds.

Dulac and Henochsberg are long-time friends and the exhibitor very logically turned to her when he considered being involved in Les Ecrans de Paris. Says Henochsberg's daughter Alexandra Henochsberg, who works with her father and also runs her own arthouse distribution outfit, Ad Vitam, a partnership with French film sales house Film Distribution : " Les Ecrans de Paris were an expensive buy, which few independent exhibitors could afford, but I think that Jean Labadie, who is a film lover as much as he is a businessman, also wanted his circuit to be run by somebody who knew the arthouse sector extremely well. "

Indeed Les Ecrans de Paris and Cine Classic - which includes four high-end arthouse theatres, including the Racine Odeon, the Saint-Germain des Pres, the Balzac and cult venue La Pagode - make a perfect fit. For the time being, there are no capitalistic links between the two operations, Dulac acquiring Les Ecrans de Paris in her own name and Cine Classic set to manage and program both circuits.