Studio sells Canadian distribution arm to Alliance Films

Lionsgate is selling its Canadian distribution arm Maple Pictures to another Canadian distributor, Alliance Films, for $38.5 million, the companies said Thursday.

The deal is subject to approval by Canadian regulators and clearly signals that Lionsgate is looking to focus on film and TV production.

Maple was founded six years ago by former Lionsgate execs Laurie May and Brad Pelman and has distributed such films as ”The Expendables,” ”The Hurt Locker,” and ”Winter’s Bone.”

As part of the deal, Alliance will buy Maple’s film library as well and assume responsibility for Maple’s five-year output deal for Lionsgate films in Canada and its film library there as well.

”We’re delighted to partner with Alliance, an iconic brand in the Canadian filmed entertainment business, in a long-term relationship that assures that our product will be handled by an experienced team with unparalleled knowledge of the Canadian marketplace,” said Lionsgate Prez Steve Beeks. ”This deal also allows us to sharpen our focus on our core assets that are critical to our growth trajectory, and it is an important step in the ongoing process of simplifying our business.”

May and Pelman will join the Alliance exec team.

”This transaction combines two extraordinary distributors in Canada and strengthens the distribution infrastructure we offer to our content partners,” said Alliance Prez Charles Layton. ”We’re thrilled to add Lionsgate’s new films and very large, renowned library to Alliance. We look forward to working with the entire Lionsgate team in the years to come.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more