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Endemol, Shine, Core confirm merger

The merger of production giants Endemol, Shine Group and Core Media looks set to go ahead after 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management reached agreement on a deal.

Shine parent, 21st Century Fox, and Apollo – owner of Endemol and Core – confirmed today that terms had been agreed without disclosing financials.

It is not yet known what the new entity, which will be by far the biggest production outfit in international television, will be called or how the various production companies within the businesses will operate.

21st Century Fox and Apollo will each own 50% of the joint venture which the companies say will have operations in 30 markets and a catalogue of more than 600 scripted and unscripted formats.

The business will house some of the biggest TV brands on the planet including Big Brother, MasterChef and American Idol.

The news comes with Europe’s biggest TV market, Mipcom, poised to get underway and speculation rife about how the new entity will take shape while regulatory approval remains pending.

As previously reported, Sophie Turner Laing, the former MD of content at UK satcaster BSkyB, will be the CEO.

As expected, Shine CEO Alex Mahon and Endemol CEO Just Spee will both be leaving their companies in 2015 after an “extended period” of transition with Turner Laing.

Elisabeth Murdoch is also standing down as non-executive chairman of Shine Group, the production outfit she founded 14 years ago and sold to her father Rupert’s 21st Century Fox for £415m (US$673m) in 2011.

Chase Carey, president and chief operating office of 21st Century Fox, said the merger was part of a strategy to accelerate the company’s growth in worldwide television production.

Aaron Stone, senior partner at Apollo, said: “It is a particularly opportune time to bring together three extraordinary companies, establishing one of the most innovative and diverse content creators in the world.

“At the heart of this partnership are the businesses’ thousands of employees around the world.”

Elisabeth Murdoch said: “As Shine enters this new chapter with new partners, it is the right time for me to take the final step back from the company I love.

“It has been an immense pleasure and privilege to work with such extraordinary talent in a shared endeavor to create a unique and outstanding television company.”

Her brother James, 21st Century Fox co-chief operating officer, is due to deliver a keynote at Mipcom on Monday, where Endemol, Shine and Core will continue to operate separately until the merger goes through.

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