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Lions Gate Sells Canadian Distribution Company

Alliance Films has agreed to purchase Canadian film distributor Maple Pictures from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. for $38.5 million, the companies announced late Thursday.

The Montreal, Quebec production and distribution company will acquire Maple and its film library. Alliance also will assume Maple’s exclusive five-year Canadian distribution deal with Lions Gate, which has corporate headquarters in Vancouver but major operations in Santa Monica.

Maple was founded in 2005 by Laurie May and Brad Pelman, two former Lions Gate executives who will join Alliance. Maple handled the Canadian distribution of Lions Gate’s recent “The Expendables”, the Academy Award-winning “The Hurt Locker” and recent Academy Award nominees “Winter’s Bone” and “Biutiful”.

“This deal also allows us to sharpen our focus on our core assets that are critical to our growth trajectory, and it is an important step in the ongoing process of simplifying our business,” said Lions Gate co-Chief Operating Officer Steve Beeks in a statement. “We’re delighted to partner with Alliance, an iconic brand in the Canadian filmed entertainment business.”

The announcement was made just before the markets closed. Lions Gate shares closed up 9 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $6.62 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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