Canada distributor names new president

Entertainment One, the Canadian video distributor with aggressive plans to expand into the international theatrical biz, has named Patrice Theroux prexy of its new filmed entertainment division.

In a boardroom coup a year ago, Theroux was ousted as president and CEO of Motion Picture Distribution, the Canadian indie that also owns Momentum in the U.K. and Aurum in Spain. But his non-compete agreement lapsed last month.

At Entertainment One, he will be responsible for international expansion and for launching theatrical distribution in Canada.

Theroux will oversee film buying and distribution worldwide, and he will spearhead corporate acquisitions to take the company into new territories.

E1 is already the largest homevid distrib in Canada and has significant business in the U.S., where it owns record label Koch Entertainment. Earlier this year, E1 was acquired by U.K.-based hedge fund Marwyn, which floated the company on London’s Alternative Investment Market.

In July, it took the first step in its international ambitions by acquiring Contender, a British DVD distrib with a small theatrical operation.

Along with entering distribution in Canada, one of Theroux’s first goals is to expand Contender’s theatrical slate with a combination of arthouse, crossover and mainstream product for release beginning next year.

Theroux’s long tenure at MPD gives him a solid background in building an international operation from a Canadian base.

Marwyn was one of the financiers that expressed interest in backing Theroux and his MPD colleagues last year in a management buyout, which led to Theroux’s ouster by the board.

Meanwhile, the long-drawn-out sale of MPD to Goldman Sachs is finally due for completion later this month. Under its new ownership, MPD is expected to move quickly to expand distribution into fresh territories, putting it in head-to-head competish with Entertainment One.

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