Russian film company AR Films has acquired 51% of A Company, one of the biggest film licensing and distribution corporations in Central and Eastern Europe.

The deal makes AR Films founder Alexander Rodnyansky chairman of the A Company supervisory board. The current chairman, Alexander Freys, will become Rodnyansky’s deputy.

“Acquisition of A Company is a major step for AR Films,” Rodnyansky said. “A Company has a reputation of being run by a great team led by an extraordinary professional in [CEO] Alexander van Dulmen, and it is my great pleasure to join them.”

Rodnyansky said he aims to make A Company a leading international player, fully integrated into the American and European production and distribution pipelines.

“We will greatly increase our production capabilities, expand our library and will use our joined resources to further develop the distribution network in Central and Eastern Europe,” Rodnyansky said.

A Company is considering further investments or acquisitions in distribution companies in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The company plans to expand its digital distribution through the Hungarian VOD platform filmklik, which is jointly owns with, and will increase its production capabilities. A Company Film Production is currently in pre-production on Pepe Danquart’s latest film Run, Boy, Run a co-production with Berlin-based production company bittersuess pictures.

The deal gives Van Dülmen a 25% share in the company. Tomasz Karczewski, managing director and majority owner of Polish distributor Kino Swiat, and the specialized US fund Expansion Media

Partners/ARAMID remain shareholders in A Company.

A Company operates a distribution network across more than 20 countries in the region. It owns Berlin based EEAP (Eastern European Acquisition Pool), Budapest Film in Hungary and Gala Media in Russia. With a library of over 350 films, A Company also distributes throughout the CIS the most popular titles from the catalogues of New Regency and Morgan Creek.

Rodnyansky founded Ukraine’s leading TV broadcaster, 1+1, and was CEO of CTC Media from 2002 to 2008. In 2009 he established AR Films, which now controls one of the biggest Russian production companies, Non-Stop Production.

Rodnyansky has produced more 50 films and TV-series, including some of the biggest box-office successes in Russia. His producer credits include The 9th Company, The Very Best Film 2, The Inhabited Island. His films have grossed more $100m.

“We are very excited to be joined by Alexander Rodnyansky. Our company gains not only a trusted partner, talented producer and businessman, but also a man whose vast experience in the film industry, creative expertise and established relations with major film companies around the world will help us take A Company to the next level,” Van Dulmen said.