Goldman Sachs Selling Majority Stake in Alliance Films (Report)

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The U.S. investment bank's private equity arm has tapped the Bank of Montreal to shop a two-thirds stake in Canada's largest indie film distributor.

TORONTO - Goldman Sachs has put its majority stake in Alliance Films, the Canadian-based movie distribution business, up for sale.

The Financial Times newspaper on Monday reported Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the investment bank’s private equity arm, has recruited the Bank of Montreal to shop a two-thirds stake in Canada’s biggest indie film distributor.

Investissement Québec, the investment arm of the Quebec provincial government, owns a one-third stake in Alliance Films to help Goldman Sachs conform to Canadian foreign ownership restrictions.

Alliance Films, which is led by Victor Loewy, includes an extensive film library, satellite divisions in Britain and Spain, and has output deals with Relativity Media, The Weinstein Company, Focus Features and others.

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Toronto-based Entertainment One, Alliance Films’ main competition in the Canadian indie film distribution sector, is also on the auction block after J.P.Morgan and Credit Suisse were retained to sift through possible bids for the media rights producer and distributor.

Goldman Sachs looking to cash out of Alliance Films follows the U.S. bank in 2007 purchasing control of the Canadian movie distributor as part of a $2.3 billion takeover of then Alliance Atlantis Communications with CanWest Global Communications Corp.

The U.S. equity player in 2010 unloaded 13 cable channels it owned and operated with Canwest Global Communications Corp.

The Alliance Atlantis deal included a 50 per cent stake in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation hit TV franchise.

Goldman Sachs looking to unload its majority stake in the Canadian company follows Lionsgate Entertainment six months ago selling Canadian indie distributor Maple Pictures to Alliance Films for $38.5 million to shore up its own balance sheet.