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Silverman’s Electus fires up Engine

Ben Silverman’s IAC-backed multimedia studio Electus has bought Engine Entertainment, the international distributor owned by former Power Corp sales head Chris Philip.

The acquisition gives Electus a major distribution outlet, to be known as Electus/Engine Distribution, for its television, motion picture and digital titles, with Philip assuming the role of president. Engine’s chief operating officer Chris Moreton will become executive VP.

The division will have offices in London, Miami, New York and LA. Since launching last year, Engine has acquired 600 hours of programming, while Silverman’s Electus, which is backed by IAC, has entered into a string of partnerships to develop multimedia content.

Last year, Electus and Engine began a partnership when they hooked up to coproduce and distribute a US version of interactive property Thumb Wars, which was brought to Engine by formats consultant and former Distraction Formats boss Michel Rodrigue.

“I’m thrilled to have the Engine team on board, led by an innovator like Chris Philip, to build an exceptional new international distribution arm that taps into unconventional models and platforms, bringing outstanding new content to the world,” Silverman said.

“The content distribution business is changing, and I believe Chris and his team are a force in international TV distribution with top-level experience in the global TV industry that will prove to be a huge asset to Electus.”

Electus already has one distribution venture, Electus Distribution, a partnership launched with Shine International, the sales division of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group. That division handles worldwide sales for Electus, plus some third-party content. Electus says it will continue with this partnership, which includes titles such as Cuckoo’s Nest, Master of the Mix and PI Moms.

Former NBC co-chairman Silverman launched Electus with IAC’s Barry Diller in October 2009. The firm has gone on to strike partnerships with Yahoo!, web comedy company DumbDumb, Israeli prodco Abbot Reif Hameiri Production Company, and most recently AOL.

Engine – launched by Philip before MipTV last year – has assets including a Latin American production-distribution arm, Engine Latino, a joint venture with local Mexican Bross el Cuadrado, which C21 revealed the news of last June.

It also sells programmes such as Bellator Fighting Championship, a mixed martial arts show sold Australian pay-TV network Foxtel Main Event, Mexico’s MVS Multi Vision, France’s AB Media and Finland’s Nelonen among others.

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