Optimum, Lionsgate to buy Elevation Sales

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CANNES -- French distributor StudioCanal's U.K. arm Optimum Releasing said Friday that it has joined forces with Lionsgate U.K. to buy British home entertainment sales house Elevation Sales. Financial details were not revealed.

Lionsgate U.K., which is handled by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, and Optimum will put sales and distribution for home entertainment through Elevation from September. Elevation, which will keep its name and management, will represent the likes of "Saw 4," "This Is England" and "The Lives of Others," plus catalogue releases "Dirty Dancing" and "This Is Spinal Tap."

Details on what will happen to existing home entertainment execs within Lionsgate and Optimum are still being worked out.

Founded by Graham Davidson in January 2004, Elevation has sold more than 15 million DVDs in the U.K. for the likes of Optimum and Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

"Elevation will capitalize on opportunities for distribution of third party product in addition to Lionsgate and Optimum releases," the two companies said in a statement. "The companies also expect Elevation to continue diversifying its DVD product portfolio into such areas as TV-to-DVD releases."

"Both Optimum and Elevation are an ideal fit for Lionsgate U.K.'s entrepreneurial growth culture," said Zygi Kamasa, Lionsgate U.K. co-founder and CEO. "Whilst we have had an excellent relationship with Fox as our recent sub-distributor, we are delighted to now tap into the expertise and successful track record of Graham Davidson and his team as we continue our growth across several lines of business. We are also pleased that our partnership with Optimum Releasing further strengthens our long-standing relationship with our friends at StudioCanal."

Danny Perkins, Optimum Releasing's managing director added: "We have enjoyed great success and remarkable growth working with Elevation over the last four years, and we are thrilled about the opportunities and market presence that a combined operation with Lionsgate delivers."
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