Alliance’s successful $38.5m play for Lionsgate-owned Maple and its film library gives the ambitious Canadian operation distribution rights to the Lionsgate slate for the next five years.

Maple co-presidents Laurie May and Brad Pelman, who founded the company in 2005, will join Alliance. The extent of lay-offs that will ensure was unclear at time of writing.

Maple’s recent hits include Lionsgate’s The Expendables (pictured) pursuant to the five-year output agreement between Lionsgate and Maple as well as The Hurt Locker and Winter’s Bone.

Among the upcoming releases are Nicolas Winding Refn’s Cannes contender Drive and Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games, the first in an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult trilogy which Alliance will view as a prized possession.

Lionsgate president and co-COO Steve Beeks said the deal, which is subject to a working capital adjustment, ensured that the company’s slate would be handled by a team with “unparalleled knowledge of the Canadian marketplace.”

Beeks added that the move allowed Lionsgate to “sharpen our focus on our core assets”, a key policy in light of the costly ownership battle with Carl Icahn that has preoccupied the mini-major in recent times.

“This transaction combines two extraordinary distributors in Canada and strengthens the distribution infrastructure we offer to our content partners,” Alliance president Charles Layton said. “We’re thrilled to add Lionsgate’s new films and very large, renowned library to Alliance. We look forward to working with the entire Lionsgate team in the years to come.”