AAC lets go top echelon, staff

Company cleaning house after takeover

Now that the C$2.3 billion ($2.2 billion) takeover of Alliance Atlantis by Goldman Sachs and CanWest Global Communications has closed, the axe is coming down, and hard.

Long-time senior executives including Atlantis co-founders Michael MacMillan, and Ted Riley, CEO Phyllis Yaffe, chief operating officer Dave Lazzarato and executive VP and general counsel Andrea Wood have either ankled or stepped down to act as advisers.

The company is being broken up, with Goldman Sachs taking over the entertainment division, which includes its TV distribution library of about 1,000 titles and its 50% interest in “CSI,” although Goldman Sachs says there are no plans to sell these assets.

Goldman Sachs is shuttering the division, including its offices in Dublin, London, Sydney, Los Angeles and Toronto, and pinkslipping about 70 employees between now and early 2008. The fate of the Motion Picture Distribution division, Canada’s largest film distrib, with interests in the U.K. and Spain, is less clear. The division is held by Goldman Sachs and Canadian partner EdgeStone Capital Partners, and the group is awaiting approval of the deal by Heritage Canada, which dictates that it must remain under Canadian control.

Rumor has it that fiery distribution executive (and Alliance co-founder) Victor Loewy is poised to take over the executive suite. Former Weinstein Co. executive Charles Layton has also been spotted at the MPD corporate office, and observers expect that he too will take an active role at the company.