Australian film distributor Becker Entertainment has acquired Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie's highly regarded distribution, marketing and audience research entity, The Globe Group.

Managing director Richard Becker said the move both strengthens Becker's film division and increases Globe's capacity to handle films, but insists that Globe will continue to operate independently.

"Globe's success in film marketing is what first attracted me but their independence is critical to their future success," said Becker. "We have kept Dendy independent so it can respond quickly to the changing requirements of independent film distribution, so too Globe needs to maintain its independence and flexibility to respond to changing market demands."

Becker has contracted its upcoming slate of films, including Slackers and Crush, to Globe as part of the deal. Globe will also supervise the release of Becker/Magna films such as The Musketeer, Thunderpants, Killing Me Softly and A Walk To Remember, in conjunction with Becker staff Matthew Soulos, Amanda Huddle, and Simon Dunstan.

Globe was formed eight years ago. It directly distributed such films as Secrets And Lies, Mullet, Praise, The Interview and Dead Man, and at one time had a first look deal with CIBY. It also helped with the marketing and promotion of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Elizabeth, Trainspotting, Two Hands and The Blair Witch Project.

It recently launched the audience research service MovieMeasure, which has been employed on The Quiet American, The Bank, The Nugget, Blood And Guts, Beneath Clouds and Hildegarde.