StudioCanal Acquires Hoyts Distribution Down Under
European production and distribution giant StudioCanal has expanded its footprint to Australia and New Zealand, acquiring Hoyts Distribution, which releases the Twilight franchise Down Under. Hoyts Corp, which owns the second-biggest circuit in Australasia, had been looking to unload its distribution unit before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opens here in November. No price was disclosed for the 11-year-old distribution company, which has a library of more than 120 titles, but industry executives estimated it would have fetched $A20 million-$A30 million. The existing team led by CEO Robert Slaviero remains in place.

StudioCanal, whose current production slate includes the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Susanne Bier’s Serena and Dan Mazer’s I Give It A Year, said it will look for new opportunities for international productions in Australia, capitalizing on the tax incentives and talent base. Private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners, which bought the Hoyts group for $440 million in 2007, flagged its intention to unload the entire company — which includes screen advertising network Val Morgan and DVD kiosk chain Oovie — in 2010. StudioCanal had held off selling rights to its films to Australia in the past three months, anticipating the deal with Hoyts, which will be rebranded as StudioCanal down the road.

— Don Groves

ITV Studios Ups Laura Gibson To Creative Director, Comedy Entertainment
In the newly created role, Laura Gibson will be tasked with developing and executive producing unscripted comedy entertainment formats for ITV network and non-ITV network channels and nurturing new comedy talent. She will report to newly appointed Director of Entertainment Shu Greene when she joins ITV Studios in the fall. Previously, she was a development exec and was involved with the ITV1 hidden-camera show Fool Britannia.

Sundance Channel Added In Spain
Sundance Channel is now available to watch on iPhone and iPad with Telefonica’s IPTV service Movistar Imagenio in Spain, after recently coming available on locally on Android and Blackberry smartphones. The network first launched on the platform in June 2011. Its offerings in the region include upcoming premeires of Bienvenido A Farewell-Gutmann, A Delicate Balance, The Wings Of The Dove, The Yards, Sexo Con Amor, Restoration, Kimjongilia and A Flash Of Green in addition of Season 2 of Mad Men among other original programming.