Nov 24, 2020
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Headline, Industry News

Victor Loewy to return to MPD

TORONTO (CP) _ Motion Picture Distribution LP and estranged chairman Victor Loewy will likely push for a speedy mend to their strained relationship as the company makes a last-ditch attempt next week to salvage its relationship with New Line Cinema Corp., analysts said Thursday.

After months of dispute, Loewy and Motion Picture reopened talks recently, putting an end to a public spat over an alleged plot to set up a competing distributor that stained both the company and its former chairman’s public images. Sources said the Canadian distributor wants Loewy back in the picture to help encourage New Line to extend its contract, which is up for renewal on Monday. So far, New Line hasn’t announced whether it will re-sign the distribution agreement with Motion Picture. Loewy’s contact should be resolved within days _ most likely by Monday, said Adam Shine, an analyst for National Bank Financial.

"While there are no guns to anyone’s head to have everything wrapped up by Sep. 18, this process has gone on long enough and it would appear to be in everyone’s best interests to resolve matters expeditiously and end the trials and tribulations of the past two months," Shine said in a research report.

Motion Picture would neither confirm nor deny whether the talks deal with Loewy’s possible return to oversee the company’s distribution contract with Hollywood-based New Line, a moviemaker he helped sign with Motion Picture in the 1990s.

Motion Picture, which is owned by broadcaster Alliance Atlantis (TSX:AAC.B) and Movie Distribution Income Fund (TSX:FLM.UN), said in a release that it’s in discussions with Loewy and it’s "premature to comment or speculate on the range of possible results that may occur." 

Calls to New Line’s offices in Los Angeles were not returned. One analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, said Motion Picture will probably welcome Loewy back, fearing that without him, New Line will refuse to re-sign its contract.

"I don’t see another reason to have him back," he said. If Loewy does rejoin Motion Picture, it will be a very "disruptive" relationship, the analyst added.

"Clearly there’s difference of opinion between the current chairman and a difference of opinion between Alliance and Victor," he said, adding there could be future conflicts.

The dispute with Loewy began after CEO Patrice Theroux and general counsel Paul Laberge were ousted from the company in July, prompting Loewy’s exit. His lawyers claimed he was dismissed, while Motion Picture Distribution said Loewy resigned.

The conflict escalated Aug. 18 when Motion Picture issued a release saying Theroux and Laberge had been fired for "wilfully deceiving and withholding material information from the board, advancing business activities for personal gain and misusing confidential information and company financial and other resources for personal gain."

In August, Motion Picture took Loewy to court to try and halt any attempt to establish a competing Canadian distributor. The judge granted an injunction against Loewy, preventing him from soliciting movie studios for any company he might set up. Motion Picture said the matters are still before the Ontario court and an arbitrator. Loewy was said to have met with some of Motion Picture’s partners in an effort to snatch them away from the company when their contract expired. New Line was one of the companies reported to be a likely candidate for such talks.

Another U.S. distributor, the Weinstein Co., extended its deal with the Canadian company last week, tacking another year onto its contract with Motion Picture, until the end of 2010. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

Motion Picture recently became a buyout target of U.K.-based Marwyn Investment Management LLP, which planned to offer about $400 million for the company. Marwyn maintained its interest in the deal throughout the company’s legal battle with Loewy. Shine said he doesn’t expect a third-party sale of Motion Picture. Instead, he is predicting that Movie Distribution will divest its European assets while Alliance privatizes its Canadian operations.

On Thursday, shares in Alliance Atlantis were ahead 52 cents at $34.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Movie Distribution Income Fund units were up 39 cents, almost six per cent, to $7.19.

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Headline, Industry News

Victor Loewy to return to MPD

TORONTO (CP) _ Motion Picture Distribution LP and estranged chairman Victor Loewy will likely push for a speedy mend to their strained relationship as the company makes a last-ditch attempt next week to salvage its relationship with New Line Cinema Corp., analysts said Thursday.

After months of dispute, Loewy and Motion Picture reopened talks recently, putting an end to a public spat over an alleged plot to set up a competing distributor that stained both the company and its former chairman’s public images. Sources said the Canadian distributor wants Loewy back in the picture to help encourage New Line to extend its contract, which is up for renewal on Monday. So far, New Line hasn’t announced whether it will re-sign the distribution agreement with Motion Picture. Loewy’s contact should be resolved within days _ most likely by Monday, said Adam Shine, an analyst for National Bank Financial.

"While there are no guns to anyone’s head to have everything wrapped up by Sep. 18, this process has gone on long enough and it would appear to be in everyone’s best interests to resolve matters expeditiously and end the trials and tribulations of the past two months," Shine said in a research report.

Motion Picture would neither confirm nor deny whether the talks deal with Loewy’s possible return to oversee the company’s distribution contract with Hollywood-based New Line, a moviemaker he helped sign with Motion Picture in the 1990s.

Motion Picture, which is owned by broadcaster Alliance Atlantis (TSX:AAC.B) and Movie Distribution Income Fund (TSX:FLM.UN), said in a release that it’s in discussions with Loewy and it’s "premature to comment or speculate on the range of possible results that may occur." 

Calls to New Line’s offices in Los Angeles were not returned. One analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, said Motion Picture will probably welcome Loewy back, fearing that without him, New Line will refuse to re-sign its contract.

"I don’t see another reason to have him back," he said. If Loewy does rejoin Motion Picture, it will be a very "disruptive" relationship, the analyst added.

"Clearly there’s difference of opinion between the current chairman and a difference of opinion between Alliance and Victor," he said, adding there could be future conflicts.

The dispute with Loewy began after CEO Patrice Theroux and general counsel Paul Laberge were ousted from the company in July, prompting Loewy’s exit. His lawyers claimed he was dismissed, while Motion Picture Distribution said Loewy resigned.

The conflict escalated Aug. 18 when Motion Picture issued a release saying Theroux and Laberge had been fired for "wilfully deceiving and withholding material information from the board, advancing business activities for personal gain and misusing confidential information and company financial and other resources for personal gain."

In August, Motion Picture took Loewy to court to try and halt any attempt to establish a competing Canadian distributor. The judge granted an injunction against Loewy, preventing him from soliciting movie studios for any company he might set up. Motion Picture said the matters are still before the Ontario court and an arbitrator. Loewy was said to have met with some of Motion Picture’s partners in an effort to snatch them away from the company when their contract expired. New Line was one of the companies reported to be a likely candidate for such talks.

Another U.S. distributor, the Weinstein Co., extended its deal with the Canadian company last week, tacking another year onto its contract with Motion Picture, until the end of 2010. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

Motion Picture recently became a buyout target of U.K.-based Marwyn Investment Management LLP, which planned to offer about $400 million for the company. Marwyn maintained its interest in the deal throughout the company’s legal battle with Loewy. Shine said he doesn’t expect a third-party sale of Motion Picture. Instead, he is predicting that Movie Distribution will divest its European assets while Alliance privatizes its Canadian operations.

On Thursday, shares in Alliance Atlantis were ahead 52 cents at $34.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Movie Distribution Income Fund units were up 39 cents, almost six per cent, to $7.19.

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Headline, Industry News

Victor Loewy to return to MPD

TORONTO (CP) _ Motion Picture Distribution LP and estranged chairman Victor Loewy will likely push for a speedy mend to their strained relationship as the company makes a last-ditch attempt next week to salvage its relationship with New Line Cinema Corp., analysts said Thursday.

After months of dispute, Loewy and Motion Picture reopened talks recently, putting an end to a public spat over an alleged plot to set up a competing distributor that stained both the company and its former chairman’s public images. Sources said the Canadian distributor wants Loewy back in the picture to help encourage New Line to extend its contract, which is up for renewal on Monday. So far, New Line hasn’t announced whether it will re-sign the distribution agreement with Motion Picture. Loewy’s contact should be resolved within days _ most likely by Monday, said Adam Shine, an analyst for National Bank Financial.

"While there are no guns to anyone’s head to have everything wrapped up by Sep. 18, this process has gone on long enough and it would appear to be in everyone’s best interests to resolve matters expeditiously and end the trials and tribulations of the past two months," Shine said in a research report.

Motion Picture would neither confirm nor deny whether the talks deal with Loewy’s possible return to oversee the company’s distribution contract with Hollywood-based New Line, a moviemaker he helped sign with Motion Picture in the 1990s.

Motion Picture, which is owned by broadcaster Alliance Atlantis (TSX:AAC.B) and Movie Distribution Income Fund (TSX:FLM.UN), said in a release that it’s in discussions with Loewy and it’s "premature to comment or speculate on the range of possible results that may occur." 

Calls to New Line’s offices in Los Angeles were not returned. One analyst, who asked to remain anonymous, said Motion Picture will probably welcome Loewy back, fearing that without him, New Line will refuse to re-sign its contract.

"I don’t see another reason to have him back," he said. If Loewy does rejoin Motion Picture, it will be a very "disruptive" relationship, the analyst added.

"Clearly there’s difference of opinion between the current chairman and a difference of opinion between Alliance and Victor," he said, adding there could be future conflicts.

The dispute with Loewy began after CEO Patrice Theroux and general counsel Paul Laberge were ousted from the company in July, prompting Loewy’s exit. His lawyers claimed he was dismissed, while Motion Picture Distribution said Loewy resigned.

The conflict escalated Aug. 18 when Motion Picture issued a release saying Theroux and Laberge had been fired for "wilfully deceiving and withholding material information from the board, advancing business activities for personal gain and misusing confidential information and company financial and other resources for personal gain."

In August, Motion Picture took Loewy to court to try and halt any attempt to establish a competing Canadian distributor. The judge granted an injunction against Loewy, preventing him from soliciting movie studios for any company he might set up. Motion Picture said the matters are still before the Ontario court and an arbitrator. Loewy was said to have met with some of Motion Picture’s partners in an effort to snatch them away from the company when their contract expired. New Line was one of the companies reported to be a likely candidate for such talks.

Another U.S. distributor, the Weinstein Co., extended its deal with the Canadian company last week, tacking another year onto its contract with Motion Picture, until the end of 2010. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

Motion Picture recently became a buyout target of U.K.-based Marwyn Investment Management LLP, which planned to offer about $400 million for the company. Marwyn maintained its interest in the deal throughout the company’s legal battle with Loewy. Shine said he doesn’t expect a third-party sale of Motion Picture. Instead, he is predicting that Movie Distribution will divest its European assets while Alliance privatizes its Canadian operations.

On Thursday, shares in Alliance Atlantis were ahead 52 cents at $34.03 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Movie Distribution Income Fund units were up 39 cents, almost six per cent, to $7.19.

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