Entertainment One has steadily been detailing a new executive structure following its takeover of rival Canadian giant Alliance Films in a $230M deal that was completed last month. Execs were quickly named for the UK and Spain operations and the latest announcement concerns its operations closer to home where eOne and Alliance have significant overlap. Here’s the release:
Montréal/Toronto/London – February 11, 2013 – Entertainment One (“eOne” or “the Group”) announces the Group’s Canadian Film leadership team, following its acquisition of Alliance Films announced January 9, 2013.
Patrice Théroux, who leads eOne’s global Film business, today confirms that David Reckziegel, will continue to oversee all North American Film operations, including the combined Canadian group, as President, eOne Films North America.
The Company also announces that Bryan Gliserman and Noah Segal will oversee eOne Films Canada, including the former Alliance Films teams, as Co-Presidents.
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With eOne‘s $230M acquisition of rival Canadian giant Alliance Films completed earlier this month, the executive structure in the UK, where the companies overlapped, is coming into somewhat clearer focus. On the eve of the European Film Market in Berlin, eOne today said that Alliance SVP Worldwide Acquisitions and Productions, Robert Walak, is leaving the company to pursue other ventures. The well-liked London-based exec had been at Alliance since 2003 and oversaw the acquisitions of such important titles as The Twilight Saga series in Spain and The King’s Speech and The Woman In Black for the UK. Also leaving is Jon Bourdillon, who headed up home entertainment at eOne. He will be replaced by Ken McMahon of Alliance subsidiary Momentum. Read More »
Now that its takeover of rival Alliance Films is complete, eOne has announced exec appointments for the UK and Spanish arms of the company. Alex Hamilton has been named managing director in the UK to oversee the combined UK film team, including distributor Momentum Pictures, and Jorge Vazquez will be managing director in Spain where eOne acquired distributor Aurum Producciones via the Alliance deal. Hamilton, a former president of Icon Film Distribution, joined eOne in 2008 to oversee UK activity. Vazquez, a 14-year veteran of Aurum, has been managing director since 2008. In other exec moves, Adam Hurst is segueing from eOne’s UK deputy CFO to the post of finance director for the UK division and Igor Ibeas will become deputy managing director in Spain. The company further announced that finance exec Charles Ogilvie is leaving. There will be more moves in the near future as eOne integrates Alliance’s businesses, with watchers paying particular attention to what happens in the territories where there is notable overlap, namely the UK and Canada, and especially with the European Film Market just around the corner. Exactly how the company will operate at the EFM was being worked out when one exec recently told me, “It’s still a big machine to feed.” EOne said today, “The Group is working quickly to bring the companies together under eOne and expects to make further announcements on leadership, branding and organizational … Read More »
UPDATE: Alliance co-founder and CEO Victor Loewy released the statement below following the eOne announcement this morning:
“Further to the acquisition of Alliance Films by eOne, the Alliance Films brand and legacy will come to an end. Whilst it’s been a privilege to be part of Alliance, having founded and been associated with the company for the past 40 years, I have decided not to be part of the new enterprise. Therefore, I will step down as Chairman and CEO of Alliance with immediate effect and will open a new chapter in my life.”
PREVIOUS: Entertainment One was granted regulatory clearance by the Canadian Competition authority last week to acquire Alliance Films and today says it has completed the roughly $230M transaction. As a result of the merger, Alliance CEO Victor Loewy and Alliance president Charles Layton have left “to pursue other interests.” The tie-up creates the largest independent film distributor in Canada and the UK and gives the new group reach across those territories along with Benelux, Australia, the U.S. and Spain. There will be some overlap for the companies, notably in the UK and Canada, and the group says it will “begin the integration process and will work quickly to bring the companies together under eOne.” Click over for the press release: Read More »
The merger of Canadian giants Entertainment One and Alliance Films is one step closer to fruition. EOne announced in September that it was seeking to acquire rival Alliance for approximately $230M. One of the conditions for the acquisition to move forward was regulatory clearance. Today, eOne says that the applicable waiting period under the Canadian Competition Act has expired and that it intends to complete the acquisition “as soon as possible.” The merger will create a group with reach across Canada, the UK, Benelux, Australia, the U.S. and Spain. In September, eOne announced a multi-year output deal with DreamWorks for the UK and Benelux. The deal for Alliance will give eOne Canadian rights to 11,000 titles including The Hunger Games.
The cast, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan are returning for Insidious Chapter 2, which FilmDistrict will release August 30, 2013. The first horror pic, released in April 2011, was one of the most profitable films of that year, grossing $97 million worldwide on a budget of $1.5 million. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions bought U.S. rights to the sequel with FilmDistrict and will handle ancillary U.S. rights and distribute in some overseas territories. Alliance Films is financing and distributing in Canada, the UK and Spain. Jason Blum, who produced Insidious, is producing through his Blumhouse Productions. Brian Kavanaugh Jones, Oren Peli, Steven Schneider, and Charles Layton are executive producing the pic, which is set to begin production January 15 in Los Angeles. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne reprise their roles in the movie, about a couple and their son, confronting the demons that possess the young boy.
Entertainment One has reported a drop in adjusted pre-tax profits for the six months ended September 30 with earnings down to $14M from $29.9M in the same period last year. The producer-distributor said underlying EBITDA of $21.3M was down from last year’s $37.5M, primarily due to the timing of increased investment, which drove P&A costs up 30% in the first half. Revenues were up to $350.39M compared to $325.11M in 2011 and operating cash flow in the first half was up 59% to $96.59M. The Canada-based company confirmed in September that it would acquire rival Alliance Films for $230M in a long-brewing deal. Today, eOne says funding for the acquisition has been secured and that the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in early 2013. Also in September, the company announced a multi-year offshore output deal with DreamWorks. Read More »
A deal has been brewing for some time between the Canadian giants. In May, Deadline reported word was spreading about a hookup during the Cannes Film Festival, and eOne later confirmed it was in talks to buy rival Alliance. Today’s announcement comes just as the Toronto Film Festival is getting underway where both companies are handling a host of titles. The merger will create a group with reach across Canada, the UK, Benelux, Australia, the U.S. and Spain. EOne has The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 coming up and purchasing Alliance will give it Canadian rights to 11,000 titles including The Hunger Games. A deal is subject to regulatory approval. Here’s the press release on the proposed acquisition:
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Today the Board of Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) (“eOne” or “the Group”) announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Alliance Films, a leading independent distributor of filmed entertainment products in Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain, from affiliates of GS Capital Partners and Investissement Québec for approximately CAD$225 million.
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In May, Entertainment One confirmed it was mulling the acquisition of fellow Canadian-based group, Alliance Films. At the time, it said a deal was not a certainty, but that it had held talks with Alliance shareholders. In its interim results today, eOne said the discussions are “ongoing”. In the meantime, eOne said it had increased first quarter film revenues by 16% and TV revenues by over 200%. In the quarter, the company, which operates in North America, the UK and Benelux, released 49 movies up from 36 in the same period in 2011. In May, it was particularly active at Cannes where it acquired 20 movies including the RED sequel, Hugh Jackman-starrer Prisoners, biopic Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman and The Mortal Instruments in a multi-territory deal. EOne’s upcoming slate includes The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, feel-good comedy The Sapphires, police drama The Sweeney and Toronto Film Fest opener, Looper. On the TV side, eOne produces NBC’s The Firm, cop show Rookie Blue, hospital drama Saving Hope, DirecTV drama Rogue and popular toon Peppa Pig, among others. The company said its full-year results are anticipated to be in line with management’s expectations.
Entertainment One confirmed today that the distributor has held negotiations about purchasing Alliance Films, as Deadline reported last week from the Cannes Film Festival. Both companies had remained publicly mum about the negotiations but eOne said today it wanted to comment because of market speculation, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. Both companies are Canadian-based. Alliance is owned by Goldman Sachs. “The board confirms it has held discussions with the shareholders of Alliance Films but there can be no certainty this will lead to a transaction,” eOne said in statement. “The company would only undertake such a transaction on acceptable terms, and on the basis that the directors believe it would be financially and strategically value enhancing for the company and its shareholders.” If a deal were to come to pass, eEon said it would finance the transaction with a combination of debt and equity.
The statement about Alliance came as eOne reported earnings for last fiscal year. The company said profit before taxes increased 103% to $37 million with revenue up 7% to $809 million. Much of the revenue was from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, to which it owns Canadian rights. Purchasing Alliance would give eOne Canadian rights to 11,000 titles including The Hunger Games. Alliance also owns 50% of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV franchise, which Goldman doesn’t intend to include in … Read More »
With the pace of dealmaking slow so far at the Cannes Film Festival, the most intriguing word spreading on the Croisette is that Entertainment One is in discussions to acquire Alliance. We’ve even heard word that Alliance and Entertainment One will not be making offers on the same films here on territories where there is overlap — namely in Canada and the UK. In January, Alliance’s owners, Goldman Sachs and Investissement Quebec, put the Toronto-based company up for sale. Under Canadian law, the buyer has to be Canadian or have a Canadian partner since foreign groups can’t have controlling ownership of local media companies. Entertainment One says it doesn’t comment on acquisition speculation, and Alliance isn’t talking either.
Related: Interview Brad Pitt Or Kristen Stewart At Cannes? If You’re Canadian, It Will Cost You
If you’re Canadian and you want to talk to Brad Pitt or Kristen Stewart at the Cannes Film Festival, be prepared to pay. Toronto’s Alliance Films has sent out a menu of prices to Canadian journalists for them to pay if they want to participate in junkets in France for Pitt’s Killing Them Softly and Stewart’s On The Road. Alliance is the Canadian distributor for the two movies. The costs, all originally in Euros, are very specific. The price for a TV interview with Pitt is about $3,232. A one-on-one print interview with Stewart would be around $1,293. You can’t actually get a one-on-one print interview with Pitt, as the menu says the actor is only available for paired interviews with other Killing Me Softly actors such as James Gandolfini or Richard Jenkins. A number of prominent Canadian outlets like the Globe And Mail and the National Post have said they will not pay for, nor participate in, the interviews.
“Alliance decided not to partake in the Cannes junkets for Killing Them Softly and On the Road, however we wanted to provide Canadian journalists the opportunity to participate directly if they so choose,” a company spokesperson told Deadline. Alliance says that it will be fully paying for a junket for Canadian journalists when it brings the films and their stars to North America later this year. Alliance also said there will be no fees for … Read More »
Multi-territory distributor Alliance Films has announced the acquisition of 16 titles to go out via Alliance Films in Canada, Aurum Producciones in Spain and Momentum Pictures in the UK and Ireland. Last week, I exclusively reported from the EFM on Momentum’s acquisition of François Ozon’s In The House and Regis Roisnard’s Populaire for the UK and Ireland. Included in that report were pick-ups of other buzz titles like Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man and Steven Soderbergh’s Bitter Pill in what Alliance SVP of acquisitions and production Robert Walak told me was a better than expected market. Among the additional films Alliance has now confirmed acquiring are Jean Dujardin’s infidelity comedy The Players and Catherine Hardwicke’s erotic thriller Plush with Evan Rachel Wood for the UK and Ireland and Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet with Maggie Smith, Read More »
Goldman Sachs is seeking to offload its two-thirds stake in movie financing and distribution company Alliance Films, the Financial Times reported today. Canadian-based Alliance has a sizable library and is the north-of-the-border distributor for Lionsgate, CBS Films, Weinstein Company, Focus Features and Relativity Media. The remaining third of Alliance is owned by an arm of the provincial government, Investissement Quebec. Alliance financed last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner The King’s Speech, current release Shame plus the horror movie Insidious and the upcoming haunted house thriller The Woman In Black. In addition to Canada, Alliance has distribution operations in the UK and Spain.
BREAKING: Alliance Films Paying $38M For Maple Pictures; Most Of Maple Staff Expected To Be Let Go
Santa Monica, CA, Vancouver, BC, and Montreal, Quebec (June 23, 2011) – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, and Alliance Films, a leading Canadian distributor of motion pictures and television programming, announced that the Alliance group has agreed to purchase Lionsgate’s Canadian distributor Maple Pictures for approximately $38.5 million subject to a working capital adjustment. The announcement was made by Lionsgate President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Steve Beeks and Alliance President Charles Layton and remains subject to approval by Canadian regulatory authorities.
The Alliance group will acquire Maple and its film library and will assume responsibility for Maple’s exclusive five-year output deal with Lionsgate for Canadian distribution of Lionsgate’s motion picture and television product and Maple’s exclusive long-term arrangement for distribution of Lionsgate’s prestigious filmed entertainment library in Canada. Maple founders and Co-Presidents Laurie May and Brad Pelman will join the Alliance team.
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EXCLUSIVE: I hear the deal was signed on Friday. So any moment now there’ll be an announcement that Canada’s Alliance Films President Charles Layton has finalized the purchase of his competitor Maple Pictures, which is primarily owned by Lionsgate. “But when you have Charles Layton involved in a deal, anything can happen!” a source tells me about the Alliance chief who’s been in the final due diligence stage. The deal has caused quite a lot of consternation up north because it will change the landscape of film distribution there — and for the worse, not the better. Also a bloodbath is expected: predictions are for the entire Maple staff of 30 to 40 employees to be let go with the exception of the two co-CEOs Laurie May and Brad Pelman, both former Lionsgate execs. Moving forward, Lionsgate’s films will be distributed by Alliance in Canada. This is part of Lionsgate’s divestiture plan to sell off what it considers non-core assets and raise cash to pay down debt following a year of fending of that hostile takeover attempt by corporate raider/shareholder activist Carl Icahn who planned to give LG to his son Brett. Lionsgate stock right now is still stuck in neutral, and the Maple stake is considered peripheral. (Lionsgate still maintains a distribution operation in the UK.)
Multiple sources tell me that Alliance is paying $38M for Maple. What Canada’s No. 1 indie film distributor is buying is an output deal with Lionsgate for Canada and the rights to the library, which is quite impressive, for a limited number of years — reportedly between 4-7 years. Lionsgate owns the vast majority of the economic interest in Maple (not just 10% as has been reported). Read More »
Much of my Cannes coverage has focused on the ferocious bidding battles among American distributors for films like The Wettest County, The Iron Lady and Looper. Even though DVD is still in the toilet and nobody can quite say why the business has rebounded, there seems to be enthusiasm in all quarters. Both offshore distributors and sellers are having a rip roaring good time here. How good? I’ll focus on Alliance Films as an example and Xavier Marchand, who as president of worldwide distribution for Alliance is buying pictures for its distribution companies in Canada (Alliance and Alliance Vivafilm), UK (Momentum Pictures), and Spain (Aurum Producciones).
He has closed 14 films, twice what he and chairman Victor Loewy expected. Marchand thought it might get busier than in past years, when he was sent a dozen scripts to read the weekend before flying here and found many of the late entries to be tantalizing. He surmises this could be an exceptionally strong year because studios are so tent-pole obsessed they’ve put in turnaround scripts that fall a cut below. They drew strong casts, and four of them have $100 million price tags: Relativity’s Snow White, Pompeii, Ender’s Game and Cloud Atlas. Whether it’s that or the strengthening economy that has brought new money to the table, he and other distributors have been feasting on projects, many sold on the basis of scripts … Read More »
Canada’s already cozy film market may soon become a little cozier. We hear that the country’s No. 1 independent film distributor, Alliance Films, is angling to acquire one of its largest competitors, Maple Pictures — and is deep into talks with Lionsgate to buy its 10% stake in Maple. Lionsgate is looking to pay down debt following a year during which it fended of a hostile takeover attempt by corporate raider/shareholder activist Carl Icahn to give the company to his son Brett. Lionsgate stock right now is still stuck in neutral. The Maple stake is considered peripheral. Maple grew out of Lionsgate in 2005 – it was known as Lionsgate Films before the company spun off the unit. It’s run by two former Lionsgate executives, Laurie May and Brad Pelman, and continues to distribute Lionsgate films, DVDs, and TV shows in Canada.