Peace Arch Home Entertainment stakes sold

Phase 4 Films will take on $7.8 mil in PAHE debt

TORONTO -- Canadian producer Peace Arch Entertainment and Brit media rights firm ContentFilm have sold their stakes in 50/50 joint venture Peace Arch Home Entertainment to Phase 4 Films, a new company led by PAHE president Berry Meyerowitz.

Phase 4 will take on $7.8 million in Peace Arch debt and a loan guaranty of $2.95 million, and assume Peace Arch's 50% interest in the North American DVD operation.

In addition to cutting its debt load and remaining a 8.8% shareholder in Phase 4, Peace Arch said that spinning off its home entertainment division will enable it to focus on TV production and motion picture licensing.

In exchange for giving up its 50% stake in the old operation, ContentFilm will retain a 22.5% stake in the rebranded Phase 4 and get out from under its capital commitments to the joint venture.

ContentFilm CEO John Schmidt described the move as a "positive development" for his company. "In place of a 50% stake in a U.S. joint venture with ongoing capital commitments, we now have a minority stake in a larger North American venture with no ongoing capital commitments."

Toronto-based Peace Arch in 2006 acquired kaBOOM! Entertainment, the Canadian home entertainment distributor led by Meyerowitz, for $8.5 million as part of a North American expansion.

Stuart Kemp in London contributed to this report.