Patrick Binet, currently head of sales house UGC International, and France Jose Covo, former head of PolyGram, are expected to be appointed to senior positions within the unnamed new TF1-Miramax production and distribution venture.

Binet is known to have been seeking an exit from the operation he helped create and in which he is a 20% shareholder.

He is understood to have clashed with Brigitte Maccioni, who folded the sales division into the film distribution and production division UGC Images unit that she heads. Binet was unhappy with the arrangement.

More recently he was said to be irritated by Maccioni's new production strategy, that saw UGC cut back on international auteur titles that he would end up selling and step up its involvement in big-budget mainstream French pictures.

There are now also question marks over the size and remit of UGC International, given that with Louisa Dent's departure earlier this year the company has lost its two principal executives.

Covo was not TF1's first choice - that honour went to Stephane Celerie of Mars Films, who may be on his way to the new look Wild Bunch (see separate story).

But Celerie is understood to have declined the invitation, a turn of events that is perhaps not surprising given the rough ride given by Miramax to his Bac Films mentor Jean Labadie.