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Kew Media snaps up six companies

Blue Ice Group co-founder Steven Silver and Alliance Atlantis alum Peter Sussman have got together to launch a new company that will acquire Content Media Corp (CMC), Frantic Films, Jigsaw Productions and others.

Peter Sussman

Peter Sussman

Kew Media Group (KMG) will acquire six companies with a combined library of over 6,000 hours sold in more than 150 countries, giving the start-up 100% ownership of five major production outfits and a distributor, and a controlling share in five more media firms.

The company, set up by Silver and Sussman, will have offices in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and London and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange seven months ago.

KMG has secured a private placement of US$20m from current shareholders and new investors, with the price of the acquisitions pegged at US$104.1m. The business expects to be valued at US$142m and bring in revenue of US$218.3m in the 2017 fiscal year.

KMG is set to take full ownership of London- and LA-based CMC and in Architect Films, Bristow Global Media, Media Headquarters Film & Television and Our House Media – all of which are based in Toronto – plus Alex Gibney’s Frantic Films in Winnipeg.

Steven Silver

Steven Silver

The CMC deal will hand KMG a controlling interest in five other companies: Aito Media in Finland, Campfire Film & Television in LA, Collins Avenue Productions in LA, Jigsaw Productions in New York and Spirit Digital Media in London. The future of CMC partnerships with formats specialist Small World IFT and Peaky Blinders producer Caryn Mandabach Productions remains unclear.

CMC’s current management team will remain in place under CEO John Schmidt, who will join the Kew board along with media veterans including former CBC creative chief Julie Bristow and ex-CBS TV president Nancy Tellem. CMC chief financial officer Geoff Webb will also serve as KMG’s CFO.

The flurry of deals instantly makes KMG one of the largest independent content companies in the world.

“There has never been a better time to be in the content business. We are incredibly excited by the companies we have brought together in Kew. It is a perfect platform for growth and further acquisitions,” said Silver and Sussman in a joint statement.

The genres covered by the new group are factual, reality, lifestyle, drama, comedy, documentary, variety, digital and branded content. KMG will have more than 250 properties or ideas in development, representing hundreds of hours of producible content expected to be delivered over the next 12 to 24 months.

Completion of the transaction is expected in March 2017 and KMG said it was “well-positioned” to make further acquisitions. It remains on the lookout for “independent, niche” media companies that are seeking to grow.


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