eOne, Alliance deal will give Canadian films bigger international platform: Throop

Entertainment One has unveiled its long-awaited $225 million deal to acquire rival Alliance Films, and its Canadian, U.K. and Spanish distribution assets, from Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Investissement Québec.

The deal, first revealed as on-going negotiations between eOne and Alliance Films last May during the Cannes Film Festival, will see eOne bolster its Canadian and UK operations and get a new business in Spain, where Alliance Films operates Aurum Producciones.

But the way eOne CEO Darren Throop tells it, Canadian producers that have one less door to knock on in Canada to do deals are also gaining a bigger international platform on which to launch their content.

“When you add Alliance’s resources to eOne’s resources, the independent production community should be thrilled with the opportunity,” he told Playback.

Bolstered by Alliance Films, eOne can take the international rights to Canadian films and represent them in foreign markets, potentially giving them a bigger rollout beyond Canada.

“It’s wonderful to have it as a Canadian title, and we love Canadian film. But we really need to continue to contemplate ways to get those films into the hands of consumers in other territories,” Throop argued.

“And this combined entity will move the needle for them (producers) in ways they haven’t seen,” he added.

eOne also gets new output agreements in Canada with The Weinstein Company, Focus Features and Relativity Media.

Throop said it’s too early to judge who among the Alliance Films senior team, including CEO Victor Loewy, will remain or go after the two companies are combined, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

“There’s no possible way we can run this combined business without the help of their very talented staff,” he insisted.

“But at this point, we haven’t made any decisions on what that will look like,” Throop added.

Loewy wasn’t available for comment Friday to discuss his future.

He did issue a statement Friday, including eOne and Alliance Films shared similar values.

“We both have a strong commitment to supporting film, culture and talent in Canada and in each of our territories. We also have passion for this business. Joining the eOne family will provide our dedicated teams and partners more opportunities to work with great films and film makers from around the globe,” Loewy said.