It's Gallic mini-major's first buy outside Europe

European film and TV giant Studiocanal has inked with Hoyts Group to acquire Hoyts Distribution, a top distrib in Australia and New Zealand.

It’s the first buy outside Europe for Paris-based Studiocanal, owned by France’s Canal Plus Group, which has distrib arms in France, the U.K. and Germany.

Led by CEO Robert Slaviero, the Hoyts Distribution team will stay in place, said Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson.

The buy takes in Hoyts’ 120-title film library for Australia and New Zealand, including four “Saw” installments and the “Twilight” franchise.

With it, Studiocanal is entering one of the developed world’s most vibrant, if competitive, markets.

Driven by exports to China, Australia has seen 21 years of consecutive economic growth. Box office has increased every year since 2006, with the 2011 B.O. hitting A$1 billion ($1.1 billion).

“It really makes sense for Studiocanal to operate directly in Australia. It’s a fast-growing country and really strong movie market, bigger than Spain and Italy,” Courson said.

After the acquisition, Studiocanal will seek to up sales in the market on its 5,000-movie library.

Also, Australia and New Zealand offer “synergies for international production, especially with Studiocanal’s U.K. productions. There’s a lot of great talent and favorable tax incentives,” Courson said.

“Australia and New Zealand are near in taste to the U.K. market,” he added, pointing out they repped the world’s third-biggest market for the Studiocanal-financed “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

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