Entertainment One Targets Doubling Its Size Over Next Five Years

Courtesy of Lionsgate

CEO Darren Throop says the firm, which distributes the 'Hunger Games' films in Canada, will "increase our production presence" in the U.S., U.K. and Australia

Canadian producer and distributor Entertainment One said Tuesday that it plans to double the size of its business over the next five years and boost its production presence in key markets, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia.‎

A representative explained that with "the size of business" the company meant the value investors ascribe to the company rather than revenue or any other reported financial metric.

"In the seven years since Entertainment One joined the London Stock Exchange, the management team has consistently delivered on-strategy, building one of the world's largest and most prolific independent film and television businesses," said CEO Darren Throop. "With our four strategic pillars of film, television, family and digital and our focused strategy...we believe that we can double the size of Entertainment One in the next five years."‎

The group on Tuesday reported underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $57.8 million (£36.9 million) for the first six months of its fiscal year, up 31 percent from the year-ago period driven by TV and film. Profit before taxes rose 100 percent to $3.8 million (£2.4 million). First-half revenue was down 4 percent, though, as strong TV gains were offset by film trends.

Read more Entertainment One Acquires Canadian Factual TV Producer Paperny

Entertainment One emphasized its "positive" earnings outlook for the full fiscal year, which it said was in line with management expectations.

"We continue to attract and retain some of the entertainment industry's leading players, partner with some of its greatest creative talent and benefit from successful collaborations that have delivered some of the last decade's most memorable hits, including The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead and the now preeminent preschool property Peppa Pig," Throop said.

He added: "Alongside these high-profile hits, the breadth of our portfolio of titles across our film and television businesses have delivered one of the most valuable content rights libraries in the independent sector. Our library and our unrivaled international distribution network provide the foundations for our business today."

In film, he highlighted an "evolving marketplace, with growth in digital delivery, creating opportunities for our business in all our markets."

Said Throop: "In particular, we see significant potential from securing earlier access to film rights through development partnerships with producers and seeking international growth into those territories experiencing structural growth. This is most notable in the Latin American and Asian markets, where we will seek to find suitable entry points."

He also argued that the company was "already a beneficiary of a new 'golden age' for premium television production, and from a base of exceptional properties such as The Walking Dead, Rookie Blue and Hell on Wheels, we are ideally positioned to deliver strong growth."

He said the strategy was to further expand the firm's TV business in Canada and to "increase our production presence into the U.S., the U.K. and Australian markets."

Read more Entertainment One Launches Australian TV Arm

Beyond organic growth, Throop said, "we will also pursue acquisitions, which deliver premium product and provide the foundation on which to build a global network of relationships with the best creative talent in the industry."

Entertainment One benefited from the $230 million acquisition of Alliance Films in 2013. The deal created the largest independent film distributor in the U.K. and Canada. It also broadened the company's international reach across the U.S., Australia, the Benelux countries and Spain.

Nov. 18, 6:30 a.m. Updated with further details from the company.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai