French production house and distribution company STUDIOCANAL has announced plans to acquire Australasian company HOYTS Distribution.

The acquisition will allow STUDIOCANAL to more aggressively distribute its own productions, such as upcoming CGI live-action Paddington (based on children's favourite Paddington Bear). The company said it will also look at opportunities to produce films in Australia, where it can take advantage of tax rebates.

STUDIOCANAL distributes more than 50 films a year throughout Europe and has an extensive back catalogue containing more than 5000 French, British, Italian, German and American titles. HOYTS Distribution's film library includes more than 120 titles, including four films from the Saw series and the Twilight franchise, including the final installment which will be released later this year.

STUDIOCANAL chairman and chief executive Olivier Courson said: “We are very happy to develop direct operations in Australia, one of the most dynamic markets in the world, with the very experienced and talented team of Hoyts, led by Robert Slaviero. We believe there are strong opportunities in this territory for our films.”

Slaviero said the acquisition would be great for the business. "STUDIOCANAL is a strong distribution business that produces its own content and acquires product. We’re extremely proud to be part of its growing success.”

STUDIOCANAL is a subsidiary of CANAL+ Group. In recent years it has acquired UK distributor Optimum Releasing and German distributor Kinowelt – both were rebranded to STUDIOCANAL.

The deal does not include HOYTS Corporation's exhibition arm, its Oovie DVD rental machines and cinema advertising arm, Val Morgan Cinema Network.

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