Alliance Films On Verge of Acquiring rival Canadian distributor Maple Pictures

Alliance Films topper Victor Loewy dismisses as "painfully untrue" a media report that a bloodbath is in the works for the Maple Pictures workforce.

TORONTO -- Canadian indie distributor Alliance Films is close to a deal to acquire rival Maple Pictures, which includes a minority stake held by Lionsgate, for $38 million.

But Alliance Films topper Victor Loewy on Monday dismissed as “painfully untrue” a media report that the acquisition will unleash a bloodbath at Maple Pictures, which is headed up by co-presidents Laurie May and Brad Pelman.

Loewy said no decision on a final job count at Maple has been made before his company takes possession of the rival.

The deal for Maple Pictures awaits final board approval, which is expected later today or early Tuesday ahead of a formal announcement of the deal.

The pending deal ends three-way negotiations between Maple and Lionsgate that was prompted last February when Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer first told financial analysts the mini-studio was searching for non-core assets to monetize.

Maple Pictures, which releases Lionsgate titles in Canada, was launched in April 2005 when the Vancouver-based mini-studio spun off its Canadian distribution arm.

At the time, Maple Pictures inked library and output agreements with Lionsgate to release its movies, TV shows and home entertainment product in Canada.