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Moving toward sale

TVA in talks to acquire Canuck Motion Intl.

MONTREAL — Motion Intl., one of Canada’s leading TV producers and distributors, confirmed Tuesday that it is in talks with a prospective buyer, and it said the price would not exceed C$5.45 ($3.71) per share or $85 million.

It has been reported that the company negotiating to acquire Motion is TVA Group, which is Canada’s top French-language broadcaster. TVA already has an international production arm, TVA Intl., and TVA CEO Daniel Lamarre has said the Montreal-based company wants to expand its reach in production. TVA Intl. recently announced a wide-ranging group of TV projects with the Cirque du Soleil and it has already made a number of TV pics for the Fox Family Channel.

Motion’s shares on the Toronto exchange dipped 9% to $3.34 following the announcement, while TVA’s shares were up 1% to $21.30.

“There can be no certainty at this stage that these discussions will continue or result in any agreement or transaction,” per the statement from Motion Intl. “Motion Intl. will make further announcements of any material developments, as required.”

Motion is the biggest TV producer in Quebec, where it dominates the local French-language market, and it has been expanding into English-Canadian production over the past couple of years. Prominent Motion productions include kids shows “Yaa! To the M@x” and “Popular Mechanics for Kids,” and the Canadian-French co-production “Largo Winch.” Motion is Canada’s top TV distributor largely thanks to its joint-venture TV sales company, Fox/Motion, which distributes such series as “The X-Files” and “The Simpsons” in Canada.

Motion reported its second-quarter results this week, with revenues doubling from $14 million in the second quarter the previous year to $28 million this year. The net earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 31 were $447,000, compared to a loss in the same quarter last year of $413,000. Motion is without a CEO, having lost exec Guy Crevier in February when he ankled to take the post of publisher at Montreal newspaper La Presse. Motion is controlled by chairman Charles Sirois’ company, Telesystem.

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