Less than one month after Toronto-based Entertainment One (eOne) announced an expansion into the US theatrical market, Canada’s largest production and distribution company is effectively up for sale.
“The eOne Board confirmed that the company is currently reviewing possible options to increase value for its shareholders, which may include a possible offer for the Company,” an eOne spokesperson told Screen International. “This review has only just commenced and there is no certainty that the review will result in any change to the Company or an offer being made for the Company.”
Speculation has swirled about a possible sale throughout the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to the point where eOne issued a statement to shareholders on Wednesday (14).
“The Board of Entertainment One Ltd. notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is considering its strategic options, which may include a sale of the Company in response to interest it has received from various parties,” the statement read.
“J.P.Morgan and Credit Suisse have been engaged to co-ordinate the review for the board. There can be no certainty that an offer will be forthcoming for the Company. A further announcement will be made in due course.”
There was no statement issued to the media.
In late August, eOne announced a restructuring, including expansion into the US theatrical distribution market, partly fuelled by a 6% increase in its box office share in Canada over the last few years as revenues climbed from C$32.6m in 2008 to $66.3m in calendar 2010.
eOne is predicting a further increase this year based on numbers to-date and an autumn line-up with a mix of art films and commercial pictures including Shark Night 3D, Dream House, Killer Elite, 50/50, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1.
The company has 22 films at TIFF, including David Cronenberg’s, A Dangerous Method (pictured) and the romantic comedy Starbuck (pictured), which received a five-minute standing ovation at its Gala premiere on Wednesday night. Director Ken Scott’s colourful Québécois comedy follows a middle-aged slacker played by Patrick Huard who’s just been informed that the sperm he once donated has fathered no less than 533 children, many of whom are now suing the clinic to meet their maker.
eOne (LSE:ETO) operates beyond Canada and the US in the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is involved in film distribution, television and music production, family programming, merchandising and licensing. Its current rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 20,000 film and television titles, 2,500 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.