‘King’s Speech’ Backer Alliance Films Said for Sale by Goldman

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is seeking a buyer for its two-thirds stake in Alliance Films Inc., the Canadian distributor and backer of the Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech,” a person with knowledge of the plans said.

Investissement Quebec, part of the provincial government, is putting its one-third of Montreal-based Alliance up for sale too, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision to seek a buyer hasn’t been announced publicly.

Plans for a sale follow Alliance’s successful investments in “The King’s Speech,” winner of last year’s best-picture Academy Award, and the horror film “Insidious.” “The King’s Speech” was made for $15 million and generated $414 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. “Insidious” cost $1.5 million and took in $97 million.

Andrea Raphael, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, said the company had no comment. The Financial Times reported on the sale plans yesterday.

Under Canadian law, the buyer must be Canadian or have a Canadian partner who is approved by the nation’s regulators, the person said. Investissement Quebec owns 51 percent of the voting shares of the company, meeting legal requirements that media companies can’t be controlled by foreign entities.

A Goldman-led group paid $180 million for its 49 percent voting stake in Alliance in 2007. Alliance bought Maple Pictures from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. in June for $38.5 million, according to a report at the time.

Alliance distributes films internationally for studios including Weinstein Co., Universal Pictures’ Focus Features unit and Relativity Media LLC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net