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Banijay ‘on course’ to go public on Euronext next week via $7.5bn SPAC deal

European content giant Banijay remains “on course” to go public on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange next week via the special-purpose-acquisition-company (SPAC) deal that was unveiled last month.

Stéphane Courbit

Through the deal, Banijay and online sports gambling group Betclic, both of which are owned by French entrepreneur Stéphane Courbit, will merge into a new entity called FL Topco. That company will then merge with another SPAC called Pegasus Entrepreneurs, which is backed by billionaires Bernard Arnault and Vincent Bolloré, head of Vivendi.

The two entities are set to combine as FL Entertainment, which will begin trading on the Netherlands-based, pan-European stock exchange Euronext on July 1.

On Wednesday this week, the parties said their business combination is “agreed on all terms” and that all shareholder approvals will be secured at the shareholder meeting, scheduled to take place today.

According to a statement, the shareholder meeting is a formality, and the companies are “on course to execute a notarial deed of merger” on June 30.

Once officially formed, FL Entertainment will be led by Courbit as chairman and François Riahi as CEO.

FL Entertainment has an enterprise value of €7.2bn (US$7.5bn) and an equity value of €4.1bn, making it the “largest business combination by a European-listed SPAC,” according to the companies.

“We are very grateful to all PIPE [private investment in public equity] and SPAC investors for supporting this transaction, that will allow FL Entertainment to successfully complete its listing,” said Riahi.

“FL Entertainment will be very well-positioned for its next stage of development, with a strong financial and shareholding structure, unique positions in the entertainment industry and solid performance.”

After what he called a “strong start to the year,” Riahi said he is confident FL Entertainment will meet its adjusted EBITDA target of approximately US$681m for 2022.

Last month, the companies said the SPAC deal had raised more than US$655m, including US$234m in PIPE investments and US$264m from Courbit’s company Financière Lov.

For Banijay, which owns around 120 production labels internationally and controls formats including Big Brother, MasterChef and Survivor, the deal comes two years after it acquired rival Endemol Shine Group for US$2.2bn.

“Achieving a public listing of FL Entertainment through this partnership with Pegasus Entrepreneurs is a milestone in the history of our group,” said Courbit last month when the deal was first unveiled.

“As a result of the transaction, the group will benefit from a robust balance sheet and will be very well-positioned to capture growth in the entertainment industry.”


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