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Discovery buys Tele5 from Leonine

US-based broadcaster Discovery has acquired German free-to-air entertainment channel Tele5 from Leonine and sealed a long-term content deal with the Munich-based former owner.

Markus Frerker

The deal sees Discovery Germany getting access to Leonine’s library of fictional content. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals.

C21 understands there are no immediate plans for any personnel restructuring at Tele5, neither in the management nor in the team, following the Discovery deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The move will allow Discovery Germany to diversify its offering in the German free TV market and pursue new target audience groups by integrating the Tele5 into its free TV channel portfolio that includes DMax, TLC, Eurosport and HGTV. Discovery also operates pay TV networks Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Eurosport 2 in Germany.

In turn, the sale will see Leonine focus on growth in its three strategic business segments: production, distribution and licensing, and comes soon after the company announced plans to join forces with France’s Mediawan to build a European production group.

Leonine, backed by US private equity firm KKR, was created in 2019 through the merger of Tele München Gruppe, Universum Film, i&u TV, Wiedemann & Berg Film and W&B Television.

“We are happy that Tele5, a successful fictional general entertainment channel, is joining Discovery Germany,” said Dr Markus Frerker, chief operating officer at Leonine.

Susanne Aigner

“Our remaining portfolio in the broadcasting sector is geared to enabling further growth in Leonine’s core business areas while displaying a strong performance, and as such, the three Leonine SVoD channels Filmtastic, Home of Horror and Arthouse CNMA as well as our minority stake in RTL Zwei are and will remain a central part of our corporate strategy.”

The deal “enables us to tap new target audience groups and expand our marketing potential with the reach of Tele5,” added Susanne Aigner, MD of Discovery Germany. “In addition, the content agreement concluded guarantees long-term access to the fiction library of Leonine. This expansion of our portfolio represents an important step in the continuous development of Discovery Germany.”

Kai Blasberg, the German channel’s MD, added: “Tele 5 has shown resilience in the current market environment. We believe this transaction creates considerable added value for us.”


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