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Icon U.K. Group to Axe Distribution Arm

Drive Film Still Three - P 2011
"Drive"

Most of the 32 staffers are expected to leave the company, while observers are pointing to Lionsgate U.K. as the most likely suitor to snap up its library of titles, which include the Ryan Gosling film "Drive."

LONDON – The fallout from Icon U.K. Group’s decision to concentrate on production is beginning to settle with its distribution arm in the firing line.

The British market place is abuzz with theories on which suitors are being lined up to snap up Icon’s library of titles, which include the Ryan Gosling film Drive. Most point to Lionsgate U.K. at the front of the queue.

PHOTOS: Ryan Gosling's Career in Pictures

Icon U.K. Group officially remains tight-lipped, but highly placed sources say the 32 staff were called into the boardroom of Icon’s central London HQ late last week to hear of the cuts being made.

Industry insiders told The Hollywood Reporter all but a handful or so of the 32 staffers are expected to part company with Icon U.K. as a result of the cuts and strategic changes being put in place.

Just last week, Icon U.K. Group, owned by Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, officially announced the appointment of Aviv Giladi as CEO of the Icon U.K. group of companies.

Giladi’s appointment was regarded by industry observers as a way to help quell rumors swirling around the market place that Icon’s future business plans here in the U.K. would continue.

STORY:  Icon U.K. Hires Aviv Giladi to Spearhead Fresh Production Ambitions

Sources within Icon at the time told THR the company will move toward a focus on production, looking to make “sizeable” projects in the $15 million to $20 million range.

Two high-profile names in the British industry, Hugo Grumbar and Ian Dawson, were promoted from within the company to be joint managing directors at Icon.

Grumbar was most recently president of distribution and sales, while Dawson held the position of general manager of home entertainment at Icon U.K.

Icon would not comment on individual circumstances or the changes being made at time of going to press.