The Quebec government is making another major investment in the movies.
Its investment arm, the Societe General de Financement du Quebec, has paid C$100 million ($98 million) to take 51% of the voting shares and a 38.5% ownership stake in Alliance Films, Canada’s leading film distributor.
The SGF acquired the stake in Alliance from EdgeStone Capital, a Toronto-based equity firm that had only controlled the film distributor since last summer.
The deal is unlikely to spark senior management changes, but Alliance Films’ head office will move from Toronto to Montreal.
Victor Loewy will remain chairman, and Charles Layton stays on as president.
SGF executives said the investment is designed to boost Montreal’s film business.
“One of the reasons we’re investing is because it’s a profitable investment,” said SGF veepee Christian Lessard. “But it’s also an investment that will have a positive effect on the Quebec economy. It will bring more major film players to Montreal.”
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This is only the latest sign that the SGF is taking an active interest in film. Last year, it invested $137 million in a $400 million package of films being produced by Lionsgate. Fifteen of the pics are set to be lensed in the province of Quebec over the next four years.
In 2006, the SGF also invested $18 million in a $264 million package of films produced by Joel Silver’s Dark Castle, with six of those films to be shot in Quebec.
Alliance Films was formerly Motion Picture Distribution, an income trust controlled by Alliance Atlantis Communications. EdgeStone and Goldman Sachs took over the company after the rest of Alliance Atlantis was bought by CanWest Global last year.