Stewart Till's company Stadium has agreed a deal to acquire the international operations of Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon Group comprising sales outfit Icon Entertainment International, the UK and Australian distribution operations and the Majestic Films & Television library. The deal is subject to due diligence.

The acquisition marks the foundation for Till's ambitious plans to build an international distribution network along the lines of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and PolyGram Film International.

Till, who is backed by New York-based billionaire entrepreneur Len Blavatnik, will retain the Icon name for the companies and will have a first-look deal with Icon Productions, the US production company which Gibson and Davey will continue to run as a stand-alone operation, to handle international rights to its productions.

Mark Gooder, the LA-based executive who was named CEO of the Icon Group in late 2007, will continue to oversee the company's operations reporting to Till. Davey will retain a place on the board.

Till plans to expand the Stadium distribution network to France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia, selling off territories in the rest of the world through the sales outfit. Till's model, unlike the Alliance and E1 multi-territory groupings, is to take all international rights on a film and therefore have better access to projects and financing capability.

Icon's sales operation has been quiet for the last year or so, taking on only a handful of new films such as Push and Hunger. Gibson himself has just embarked on his first starring role in six years in Edge Of Darkness for GK Films.

The UK and Australian distribution outfits on the other hand have full lineups. The UK operation has Pandorum, The Road and The Box among its 2008/9 release slates, while Australia has titles such as Brideshead Revisited, City Of Ember, Last Chance Harvey and Disaster Movie. The two territories often buy together on films such as Jon Amiel's Creation, Transporter 3 and Tree Of Life.

Till will be looking to hire a sales executive to run the sales operation since the departure of Ariel Veneziano earlier this year.