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Hoyts sold to Studiocanal
By Patrick Frater
Tue, 17 July 2012, 16:35 PM (HKT)
European film group Studiocanal has bought operations of Hoyts Distribution in Australia and New Zealand.
The deal was struck with Hoyts Group, which is owned by private equity group Pacific Equity Partners, and excludes the exhibition arm and Val Morgan, one of the leading screen advertising companies in the region. Hoyts Group held presentations to potential buyers during the Cannes film festival in May.
The value of the deal was not disclosed.
The acquisition is the first outside Europe for Studiocanal, which already owns distribution companies in the UK (Optimum) and Germany (Kinowelt).
Studiocanal chairman and CEO Olivier Courson justified the deal by explaining the similarities of the Australian movie-going market to that of the UK. He also said that it is a fast-growing territory that is already among the top ten in the world, with theatrical revenues of $1.1 billion in 2011, and bigger than either Italy or Spain.
The present management of Hoyts Distribution under Robert Slaviero is expected to be kept in place and possibly expanded.
Studiocanal is understood to be exploring the possibility of taking Hoyts into local productions that make use of Australia and New Zealand's favourable tax and production incentives. Several recent films have been structured as France-Australia co-productions including The Tree and the upcoming The Grandmothers.
The deal may have implications for international film sales. Hoyts already has a number of acquisition deals in place for 2012 and 2013 including its release of final Twilight Saga episode Breaking Dawn Part 2 in November. It also means that Studiocanal expands to five the number of territories (France, Germany, UK, Australia, New Zealand) it can self-distribute and withhold from international sales.
StudioCanal was recently producer on Attack The Block, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (pictured) and Johnny English Reborn. It is currently financing or involved in the production of the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, Susanne Bier's Serena, and the David Heyman-produced Paddington.