On April 8, 2005, Maple Pictures Corp. completed the acquisition of the Canadian distribution business of Lions Gate Entertainment to become the second largest independent film distributor in Canada. As part of the transaction, Maple Pictures entered into exclusive long-term library distribution and output agreements with Lions Gate for the distribution of Lions Gate’s extensive 8,000-title library of filmed entertainment products as well as new Lions Gate film, television and home video productions in Canada. The value of the transaction was undisclosed.
Maple Pictures will be run by Brad Pelman, who joined Lions Gate in 1999 and served as executive vice-president, sales and distribution and co-manager of its Toronto office, and Laurie May, who joined Lions Gate in 1997 and served as senior vice-president, business and legal affairs and co-manager of its Toronto office. Mr. Pelman and Ms. May, together with two Canadian private equity partners, are significant shareholders of the new company and Lions Gate has a 10 per cent equity interest and board representation. Financing for the transaction was provided to Maple Pictures by RBC Royal Bank Media and Entertainment Group (Toronto).
Maple Pictures was represented by Goodmans LLP with a team led by David Zitzerman (entertainment) that comprised Joel Schachter (corporate), Tara Parker and Samantha Traub (entertainment), Mitchell Sherman (tax) and Joe Morrison (employment).
Lions Gate was represented by its general counsel, Wayne Levin, and a team from Heenan Blaikie LLP led by Allen Garson (entertainment/corporate) that included Maneli Badii and Bob Tarantino (entertainment), Lorri Charnetski (corporate), Manon Thivierge (tax) and Henry Dinsdale (labour and employment).
Brad Pelman was represented by Peter Steinmetz, Q.C., (entertainment) of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP; Laurie May was represented by Norman May, Q.C., (corporate) of Fogler, Rubinoff LLP; and the two Canadian private equity partners were represented by Bruce Blain and Steve Saville (corporate) of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.
RBC Royal Bank Media was represented by Carolyn Stamegna and Hilary Goldstein (entertainment) of Goodmans. Jim Russell and Jeff Jackson (entertainment) of Heenan Blaikie acted for Maple Pictures on the RBC loan transaction.