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Banijay seals Endemol Shine deal

Peaky Blinders is among the shows on the ESG slate

French entertainment group Banijay has reached an agreement to buy 100% of Endemol Shine Group (ESG).

Marco Bassetti

The two companies announced the agreement this morning with Banijay taking ownership of ESG from The Walt Disney Company, which picked up its stake as part of its buy-out of 21st Century Fox assets last year, and Apollo Global Management.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but reports in the UK earlier this week put the pricetag at close to US$2bn, significantly less than the £2.5bn that ESG was looking for when it hired two banks to investigate a possible sale.

The move will create the biggest production and distribution company in the world with a catalogue of close to 100,000 hours of shows and series.

The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, will encompass ESG’s 120 production companies with an estimated 66,000 hours of scripted and non-scripted programming together with over 4,300 registered formats.

Sophie Turner Laing

Upon completion, Banijay will own almost 200 production companies in 23 territories. Total revenue of the combined group is expected to be approximately €3bn (US$3.6bn) for 2019.

The move will give Banijay ownership of series and formats including Black Mirror, Versailles, The Millennium Trilogy, Peaky Blinders, Big Brother, MasterChef, Survivor, Temptation Island, Wife Swap and The Island.

The acquisition will be financed through debt financing and includes a full refinancing of Banijay and ESG’s existing financial debt, supported by Deutsche Bank, Natixis and Société Générale. Post-closing, the combined group will be held by LDH (67.1%) and Vivendi (32.9%).

LDH is a holding company controlled by Financière LOV (52%), an investment arm belonging to Banijay chairman Stéphane Courbit. De Agostini of Italy (36%) and Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière’s investment firm Fimalac (12%) are also shareholders in LDH.

Marco Bassetti, Banijay CEO, said: “Endemol Shine brings an incredible array of industry-leading talent, globally renowned brands and high-quality creative content. Combining the resources of these two companies will instantly strengthen our position in the global market, and our capabilities across genres will further define us as a go-to provider of first class IP worldwide.”

Sophie Turner Laing, ESG CEO, added: “At Endemol Shine, we have continually inspired and entertained audiences around the world, a testament to every single person across the Group. This deal takes us into a whole new and exciting chapter and into a new enhanced global content house with many opportunities ahead.”

The move concludes a protracted 18-month process riddled with rumour and counter-rumour about potential suitors for the entertainment giant behind Big Brother.

Several interested buyers came forward initially, including All3Media and broadcaster ITV in the UK, RTL’s Fremantle, US cableco Liberty and Hollywood talent agency Endeavour, but all withdrew because of ESG’s suggested price tag and debt load.


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