It's Official: Entertainment One in Talks to Acquire Alliance Films

 Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment

TORONTO -- Canadian producer and distributor Entertainment One confirmed Monday that it is in talks to acquire rival Alliance Films.

Releasing its full-year results to March 31, Toronto-based Entertainment One pointed to crunch discussions, with “no certainty this will lead to a transaction.”

The Canadian producer said any transaction will be partly financed through an equity placing, adding that it will only acquire Alliance Films on “acceptable” term

The confirmation ends recent speculation about a possible deal for Alliance Films that was to be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival.

Entertainment One is considered the most likely suitor for Alliance Films as owners Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Investissement Quebec have the Bank of Montreal secure a buyer for Canada’s largest indie distributor.

Entertainment One took itself off the auction block in February and signaled that it was eyeing acquisition targets.

Besides a library of around 11,000 film titles, Alliance Films has plum output deals in Canada with Relativity Media, Focus Features, Lionsgate Entertainment and others.

The Montreal-based company also runs distribution operations in Britain and Spain.

Also Monday, Entertainment One, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, reported a pretax profit of $36.1 million, up from a year-earlier pre-tax profit of $17.8 million, on overall revenue up 7 percent to $790 million.

Film revenue rose 17.3 percent to $427.5 million, in part from the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 in Canada and Britain, while TV revenue jumped 43 percent to $151.5 million on sharply higher program investment and deliveries.

The filmed entertainment revenue offset a 16.5 percent slide in distribution revenue to $297.5 million amid the DVD slump.

During its latest reporting period, Entertainment One released 152 films theatrically, with gross box-office receipts of $212 million, against a year-earlier $202 million, and 237 half hours of TV programming, including Hell on Wheels, The Firm, Rookie Blue, Haven and Call Me Fitz.

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