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Norstar moving on

Alliance pays cash for Canuck indie

MONTREAL — Veteran Canuck indie production and distribution company Norstar Entertainment, which had been in serious financial difficulty for some time now, has been acquired by Alliance Communications Corp.

Alliance did not release the terms of the cash transaction, but sources said the Toronto-based company paid between C$5 million ($3.6 million) and C$10 million ($7.1 million) for Norstar’s assets. Alliance also picks up Norstar’s debts as part of the deal.

Norstar was in independent production for more than a decade, operating as a national distributor in Canada and ran a global sales division, Norstar Intl. But Toronto-based Norstar has been relatively inactive as a producer and distributor in recent months, and the film biz here was rife with rumors that the company was poised to go out of business.

Norstar owner and founder Peter Simpson sold the company to Alliance and will be leaving behind the Norstar banner to pursue other projects.

For Alliance, it is essentially a library deal that will add some 400 hours of movie titles, including Canadian pics like “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing,” “Prom Night,” “Highway 61,” “Outrageous!,” and the TV miniseries “The Arrow.” The deal also gives Alliance access to Canadian rights to international titles, including “Farinelli,” “A Room with a View,” “Bitter Moon” and “Metropolitan.”

“From a video and TV point of view, it’s quite exciting because a lot of activity can be generated from that library,” said Patrice Theroux, executive vice president of Alliance Motion Pictures Distribution. “They have a fair chunk of titles available and some Canadian content, which always has good value in Canada. There are also a lot of good video titles.”

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