Entertainment One buys rights


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The Independent Online

The company behind cartoon character Peppa Pig has gobbled up the rights to some of the most successful grown-up movies of recent years, including The King's Speech.

Entertainment One, the London-listed film and TV distribution company, paid C$225m (£144m) for Canada's Alliance Films.

E1 said the takeover would make it the largest independent film distributor in the Canadian and UK markets with 35,000 titles.

The chief executive Darren Throop said the acquisition should substantially boost profits and "generate significant value for shareholders". Shares in E1 jumped 15p to 171p.

E1 owns a slew of rights, including films such as the Twilight teen vampire franchise, and has managed to offset falling DVD sales with growth in digital.

The group said the merger should be complimentary as Alliance's own library includes many hits, including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and The Lord of the Rings.

E1 will fund the deal through a £110m share placing and debt. JP Morgan and Credit Suisse are advising. Goldman Sachs and the Canadian state investment firm Investissement Québec were the owners of Alliance.