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Entertainment One to acquire Alliance Films

In this film released by Entertainment One, Gary Oldman is shown in a scene from "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Jack English/The Associated Press

Entertainment One will buy Alliance Films, adding 11,000 movies to the Toronto-based company's library and making it one of the largest independent film distributors in the world.

The company said it would spend $174-million to buy Alliance from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Investissement Quebec. It will also take on the company's $51-million debt.

Goldman Sachs has been shopping Alliance since the beginning of the year. The distributor is one of the last remaining assets from its $2.3-billion purchase – along with Canwest Global Communications – of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.

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Alliance Films also owns half of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation television franchise, but it was not included in the sale.

Distribution companies have been the target of takeovers across the world over the last year, as Internet-based companies such as Netflix create new markets for back catalogues.

Entertainment One will add Alliance titles such as Pulp Fiction, The Hunger Games and The King's Speech to its library of 23,000.

"Entertainment One will be a more competitive business in each of the geographic markets that we serve, allowing us to act as a more valuable partner for content producers and expanding the quality and depth of the content that we offer to our customers," the company said in a statement, saying it would be the largest independent player in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Entertainment One will pay Goldman an additional $35-million if certain box office targets are met, and another $12-million if some tax issues are settled for less than the money that has already been put aside.

The company said the deal is conditional on approval from Canada's Competition Bureau.

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