Entertainment One, the Canadian video distributor with aggressive plans to expand into the international theatrical business, 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.
He will oversee film buying and distribution worldwide, and will spearhead corporate acquisitions to take the company into new territories.
E1 is already the largest home entertainment 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 from 2008 onward.
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 in a management buyout last year, 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 head to head with Entertainment One.