Optimum Releasing (and its parent company StudioCanal) has set up a joint venture with Lionsgate UK to jointly acquire home entertainment company Elevation Sales.

Elevation will now handle the sales and distribution of all DVD product for both Optimum Home Entertainment and Lionsgate UK. The company will also carry third-party projects and is expected to branch out into other areas such as TV-to-DVD releasing.

The companies have signed letters of understanding and are now negotiating the definitive agreements. Lionsgate UK's previous DVD partner was Fox.

Forthcoming releases through Elevation, which officially launches in September, include Saw 4, Captivity, This Is England, The Lives Of Others, and catalogue titles including Dirty Dancing and This Is Spinal Tap.

Elevation will keep its current management team, headed by Graham Davidson. Elevation was founded in January 2004 and has worked with Optimum, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and MVM.

Danny Perkins, Optimum Releasing's Managing Director added:'We have enjoyed great success and remarkable growth working with Elevation over the last four years and we are thrilled about the opportunities and market presence that a combined operation with Lionsgate delivers.'

Lionsgate chief executive Zygi Kamasa added: 'Whilst we have had an excellent relationship with Fox as our recent sub-distributor, we are delighted to now tap into the expertise and successful track record of Graham Davidson and his team as we continue our growth across several lines of business. We are also pleased that our partnership with Optimum Releasing further strengthens our longstanding relationship with our friends at StudioCanal.'