Mirvish Deal Moves Forward

An Ontario Superior Court judge has denied a local production company’s request for an injunction to keep a rival company from purchasing two local theatres.

Dancap Productions filed suit in May to keep U.S.-based Key Brand Entertainment, which purchased the Canon and Panasonic theatres from Live Nation earlier this year, from selling those theatres to Ed Mirvish Enterprises for roughly $35 million.

Dancap alleged in its filing that it made a deal last year with Key Brand that gave it “full authority to autonomously manage Key Brand’s Canadian assets, including the Canon and Panasonic theatres in Toronto, and final right to determine which productions would be shown and when.”

At the time, Key Brand officials said the suit was “completely without merit,” and Mirvish claimed it already held programming rights for the theatres and had a first right of negotiation on their sales.

It appears Justice Geoffrey Morawetz, who’s presiding over the case, agrees.

“Dancap did not negotiate for, or obtain from Key Brand, any restraint on alienation that would limit Key Brand’s right to sell the theatres, nor did it negotiate for, or obtain, a right of first refusal or even a right of first negotiation on the sale of the theatres,” Morawetz wrote in his ruling.

“Dancap has no competing ownership rights of the theatres and, in my view, there is no basis for Dancap to stop the sale of the theatres to Mirvish. In my view, Dancap has failed to establish that there is a serious issue to be tried with respect to the ability of Key Brand to sell the theatres.”

The ruling leaves Key Brand free to close the venue transactions with Mirvish.

Dancap head Aubrey Dan said in a statement that the company was confident of the merits of its legal claims, according to the Globe and Mail.

“Dancap is disappointed with the court’s preliminary ruling and we are currently reviewing all of our legal options,” he said.