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Banijay completes Endemol Shine deal

The deal gives Banijay rights to shows including Black Mirror

France-based production giant Banijay has officially completed its takeover of production and distribution group Endemol Shine Group (ESG) for a fee reported to be in the region of US$2.2bn.

The final regulatory hurdle for the mammoth deal was cleared earlier this week when the European Commission gave its approval, paving the way for Banijay to announce its conclusion this morning.

The combined group will be led by CEO Marco Bassetti, with Sophie Turner Laing stepping down from her role as CEO of ESG. Turner Laing’s final day will Friday July 10.

First announced towards the end of 2019, the buy-out sees Banijay take ownership of ESG from The Walt Disney Company, which picked up its stake as part of a buy-out of 21st Century Fox assets in 2018, and Apollo Global Management.

The acquisition encompasses ESG’s 120 production companies with an estimated 66,000 hours of scripted and non-scripted programming, together with over 4,300 registered formats. Banijay now owns almost 200 production entities in 23 territories.

The deal also gives Banijay ownership of series and formats including Black Mirror, Versailles, The Millennium Trilogy, Big Brother, MasterChef, Survivor, Temptation Island, Wife Swap and The Island.

The acquisition has been financed through a capital increase of Banijay Group and debt financing and was combined with a full refinancing of the financial debt of Banijay and ESG.

Banijay Group chairman Stéphane Courbit’s LOV Group Invest becomes the majority owner of both European production and distribution giants, with European media conglomerates Vivendi, De Agostini and Fimalac the other shareholders.

Bassetti said: “The close of this unique deal represents the joining of two businesses built on entrepreneurialism, creativity and people. Aligned in thinking and approach, we now stand together as the world’s largest international content creation and distribution group.

“Expanding our catalogue and investment in high-quality, multi-genre IP, extending our footprint significantly and welcoming a number of new world-class creatives, we hope to become a go-to for clients and home for the best talent to create the most innovative and fresh scripted and non-scripted programming.”

Turner Laing added: “This deal bookmarks a creatively rich, commercially successful and relentlessly prolific five-and-a-half years as Endemol Shine Group. It has been a real privilege and honour to lead such a talented and dynamic group of people, each of whom has played their part in, and should be proud of, our many collective successes over this time.

“As the start of an exciting new chapter in the company’s story, it is also the appropriate time for me to step down as CEO and I wish Marco and his team the very best for the future.”

Today’s news concludes one of the biggest and most protracted mergers in this era of consolidation in the content business.

Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media Group only came together themselves in 2014 – in what was itself one of the content business’s biggest mergers – and speculation about who would subsequently acquire the production behemoth has been rife pretty much ever since.

Liberty Global-backed All3Media and UK commercial broadcaster ITV were both heavily linked as suitors, both when 21st Century Fox held its stake and after it was picked up by The Walt Disney Company.

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