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Drama Awards 2019

Banijay-Zodiak merger completed

Keeping Up With the Kardashians: Will the whole world be watching in 2025?

Keeping Up With the Kardashians is among the titles housed by the combined group

Banijay Group and Zodiak Media have completed the deal to bring their two businesses together, with Vivendi holding a 26.2% stake in the venture.

Following European Commission approval last month, the merger has now gone through, creating what’s being billed as the world’s biggest independent production company and the largest not controlled by a media group.

The newly created Banijay Group is 73.8% controlled by a company that’s 50.1% owned by Stéphane Courbit’s LOV Group and 49.9% owned by De Agostini Group’s DeA Communications, with Vivendi paying €290m (US$311m) for 26.2% of the total Banijay Group.

The new group will have a footprint in more than 18 territories, producing entertainment, drama, factual, reality entertainment, docudrama, children’s and animation. The Zodiak name will be retained only for distribution.

The combined company will house titles including Versailles, The Secret Life of Four Year Olds, Temptation Island, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Stéphane Courbit

Stéphane Courbit

Banijay chairman Stéphane Courbit and CEO Marco Bassetti are taking over the combined business in the same roles for the firm, which the parties say will have total revenues of US$1bn.

The two companies’ distribution operations are merging and will be led by Zodiak Rights CEO Tim Mutimer, who has become head of distribution. His counterpart at Banijay International, Emmanuelle Namiech, is leaving as a result, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed.

The distribution arm will keep the Zodiak Rights name and will be present at MipTV in April.

Courbit said he had “every confidence that this strong group of managers and creative talent will thrive on the global stage.”

Lorenzo Pellicioli, CEO of De Agostini Group, added that the merger “creates a real leading international player” and that “thanks to the quality and size of the product portfolio, the geographical footprint, the excellence of the management team and the support of the shareholders, the new group will be well equipped to compete on a global basis in the creation, production and distribution of television content.”

The merger was confirmed last July, with Zodiak Media CEO Marc-Antoine d’Halluin now exiting the company as a result.

Sophie Kurinckx, previously Banijay’s chief financial officer, takes the same role across the entire group while Frédérique Sauvage has been appointed general counsel.

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