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CJ ENM acquires Eccho Rights

South Korean media giant CJ ENM has agreed a deal to acquire Sweden-based distributor Eccho Rights.

Fredrik af Malmborg

The acquisition is part of CJ’s strategy to accelerate its global expansion and content business in markets including Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

The companies said the deal would “bring synergies” that would strengthen CJ ENM’s format business, content sales and distribution, and expand IP represented by Eccho.

The Swedish firm will be run as a separate unit, with MDs Fredrik af Malmborg and Nicola Söderlund remaining as shareholders and co-owners, operating under its existing management and brand.

Eccho added that it would continue to work with all parties in Korea despite its tie-up with CJ ENM, with a focus on dealing with independent producers worldwide.

Chul-yeon Kim, senior VP of CJ ENM’s Global Business division, described the deal as a merger that would “create exceptional value for both sides to consolidate our global presence.”

“This will substantially enable us to leverage our premium content to reach worldwide audiences, offering unique experiences and enjoyment,” he added.

Malmborg said CJ ENM was “the ideal partner… in our ambition to build on our business models in television drama for the future.

“Our experience in the Turkish and Western drama market creates a very solid link to Korea and the rest of Asia. To be a part of CJ ENM will enable us to grow and to develop an even stronger offering to TV producers worldwide.”

Eccho has worked with CJ ENM extensively over recent years, including signing an exclusive distribution deal for Korean drama formats Tears of Heaven and A Bird That Doesn’t Sing as well as Memory. Eccho has also sold CJ formats Ice Adonis and Who Are You to territories worldwide.

The Sweden-based firm has offices in Stockholm, Istanbul, Madrid, Seoul and Manila, and last year licensed more than 15,000 hours of TV series to clients worldwide.

It has also become a prolific seller of drama from Turkey, where two major local production companies – Medyapim and Ay Yapim – recently launched sales outfit Medyapim Ay Yapim Drama Distribution (Madd) Entertainment to sell their own shows, cutting the supply to third-party sellers.

Distributors have also been facing increasing pressures over the past 18 months as third-party content becomes harder to source.

Asked if the deal would see Eccho acquire production companies, the distributor said it was “proud of its existing business model” but added that it would “look forward to synergies with CJ and to be able to introduce new partnership and business models in the market.”

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