Ent. One grows with Seville

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TORONTO -- North American DVD distributor Entertainment One is set to announce Monday that it has acquired Montreal-based movie distributor Seville Pictures in order to kick-start its Canadian theatrical releasing business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase follows Toronto-based Entertainment One's June buy of British distributor Contender Entertainment Group for $97.3 million as part of an international expansion under new president and CEO Patrice Theroux.

"We bought Seville as we want an established mature distribution company in Canada to build upon," Theroux said Friday. "(Seville has) a track record, a good library of movies and an international operation where they can sell Canadian movies into the international market."

David Reckziegel and John Hamilton, who co-founded Seville in 1999 and run the company as co-presidents, will remain with the company as it is folded into a new filmed entertainment division at Entertainment One.

British hedge fund Marwyn Investment Management bought Entertainment One in March for $168 million before delisting the company from the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income fund, refloating it on the London-based AIM market and hiring Theroux away from rival distributor Motion Picture Distribution Llp.

Seville releases about 30 titles at year in Canada and another five to 10 titles internationally. Its Canadian distribution library boasts about 500 titles, with Seville holding worldwide rights to another 100.

"With the weight of Entertainment One behind us, Seville is positioned to become an increasing presence in Canadian distribution, allowing us to exploit rights across Canada more aggressively," Seville's Reckziegel said.

Theroux added that with Contender in Britain, Seville in Canada and DVD distributor Koch Entertainment in the U.S. market, Seville will begin acquiring additional film titles at next month's Toronto International Film Festival.

Seville is heading into Toronto with six titles in the festival's lineup, including Roger Spottiswoode's Rwandan drama "Shake Hands With the Devil," Richie Mehta's "Amal" and the closing-night film, Paolo Barzman's "Emotional Arithmetic."

Theroux added that Entertainment One could make additional acquisitions in the Canadian, U.K. and U.S. markets in the coming months, with an eye toward building a global filmed entertainment business.
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