RLJ Companies chairman and Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L Johnson said the newly created RLJ Entertainment would become one of the largest independent digital and video content distributors in the world.

Shareholders of home entertainment specialists Image will own approximately 11% of the new entity while shareholders of Acorn, a distributor of British television programming in North America, the UK and Australia, will own around 5% assuming no redemptions.

The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulatory approval and is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter.

Johnson woll serve as executive chairman. Image chairman and CEO Ted Green will serve as RLJ Entertainment CEO and Bill Bromiley and his team will continue to spearhead acquisitions.

“RLJ Entertainment will have a broad strategy for financial growth by providing content to all media platforms including broadcast and cable, DVD and Blu-Ray, digital downloads, and digital streaming,” Johnson said.

“Image Entertainment is a leader in the urban, independent film, comedy, and horror genres and Acorn Media Group, founded by Peter Edwards, who will serve as vice-chairman of RLJ Entertainment, is a dynamic, brand-oriented company that provides engaging British drama, such as the Agatha Christie library, to its target audiences.”

Johnson added the new entity would have a presence in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.