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The restructuring of Canada's largest film distributor will see Motion Picture Distribution LP rebranded as Alliance Films - the name it has been using informally for several weeks - while former executive Victor Loewy has been tapped to run the operation.

EdgeStone Capital Partners, a Toronto-based private equity fund that acquired more than half of the distributor this summer for $191-million, made the formal announcements Monday.

Both moves had been telegraphed in recent weeks with rumours circulating at the Toronto International Film Festival that Mr. Loewy would be given a top role at the company. Meanwhile, the former distribution business owned by Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. had been using the Alliance Films brand on several of the titles it handles.

EdgeStone is partnering with U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the deal. Though EdgeStone hasn't specifically disclosed how much of the company it owns, it is more than half.

In addition to a Canadian partner, Goldman Sachs also needs to have Canadian management in place at the company to satisfy federal requirements on the ownership of domestic film distribution companies.

While the appointment of Mr. Loewy to the role of executive chairman, along with Charles Layton as president and Xavier Marchand as president of international distribution, will help satisfy some of those requirements, Mr. Loewy has also been a controversial figure within the company.

The former chairman of Motion Picture Distribution, Mr. Loewy left suddenly last summer after a bitter boardroom showdown with Alliance Atlantis after his two key executives were fired for allegedly attempting to orchestrate a buyout of the distributor. Court documents indicate investigators uncovered a plan code named "Project Godfather."

The two sides later settled, and Mr. Loewy returned to the fold last year. His departure threatened a key contract held by the distributor since New Line Cinema had a "key man clause" worked into its contract that said the deal could be terminated if Mr. Loewy left.

The operation is by far the largest film distributor in Canada, with about 18 per cent of the market. In addition to New Line, it has contracts with other Hollywood studios such as Miramax, Focus Features and Weinstein Co.

Other film distributors have raised concerns about Goldman Sachs' ownership of the business, since it results in a U.S. player owning a significant stake in the Canadian distributor.

In a statement announcing the moves," Gilbert Palter, chief investment officer at EdgeStone, said the company is "fully committed to ensuring that Alliance Films continues to play its important cultural role in Canada."

"EdgeStone is very excited by the energy, enthusiasm and experience the new management team brings, and brings back, to the company," Mr. Palter said. Mr. Loewy began in the film industry in 1972 and was a co-founder of Alliance Communications in the 1980s. Mr. Layton is a former executive vice-president with Miramax Films and Weinstein Co., and Mr. Marchand was managing director of Momentum Pictures.

Alliance Films' library includes the largest and most valuable collection of Canadian programming of any distributor in Canada, with about 1,200 titles totalling 6,000 hours.

Divided into roughly five categories - syndicated action shows, English and French-language feature film, higher-end TV series, kids' shows and non-fiction - the collection includes such feature films as The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Quest for Fire, The Red Violin and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie; and TV series such as Due South, Traders and Outer Limits.

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