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Mediawan buys Germany’s Leonine Studios to create Euro production powerhouse

Netflix sci-fi series Dark was a hit internationally as well as in its home market of Germany

France’s Mediawan has agreed an all-stock deal to take over Leonine Studios of Germany and create a European production powerhouse with 85 production labels across 13 countries.

The move comes after Mediawan acquired approximately 25% of the German studio in 2020, a year after it was launched by Fred Kogel and the Leonine management team with financial backing from venture capital firms KKR and Atwater Capital.

Pierre-Antoine Capton

Leonine was created by acquiring and merging German companies TMG, Universum Film, i&u TV and Wiedemann & Berg Film, followed by W&B Television, SEO Entertainment, Hyperbole, BeetzBros Film Production and Toon2Tango.

With Pierre-Antoine Capton as Mediawan group CEO, Kogel will lead operations in German-speaking regions alongside the existing Leonine management team and will join Mediawan’s exec committee. Mediawan remains controlled by its co-founders Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, also with backing from KKR.

The combined entity will have a catalogue of 30,000 hours of content and revenue exceeding €1bn (US$1.07bn). The Mediawan group’s presence now encompasses 13 countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Benelux and the UK in Europe, alongside operations in Africa, Asia and the US. The company’s IP library includes Call My Agent, Miraculous Ladybug, Rhythm & Flow France, Three Body Problem, The Agency, Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story, IPH, One Day and Bob Marley: One Love.

Leonine has produced and coproduced titles such as The Lives of Others, School of Magical Animals, Dark, The Gryphon, Crooks, Juan Carlos – Downfall of The King and The Cleaners. It also owns rights to US movies such as the John Wick franchise, Hunger Games – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Knives Out, Everything, Everywhere All At Once and The Zone of Interest.

Fred Kogel

The acquisition of Leonine Studios comes weeks after Mediawan bought a majority stake in London-based prodco Misfits Entertainment (Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story, McQueen) for an undisclosed fee. In 2021, Mediawan and Leonine also jointly acquired a 51% stake in Drama Republic, the UK producer behind dramas including Doctor Foster and The Honourable Woman.

“With the addition of Leonine Studios, we have achieved an important milestone in Mediawan’s strategy to create a pan-European studio with a strong presence in all key markets. Together, we will become an even more attractive platform for creative talent and strengthen our position as a leading studio for premium content across all genres,” said Mediawan’s Capton.

Leonine’s Kogel added: “Within five years we have built the leading integrated independent media group in the German-speaking region and a home to some of the best talent in the industry. This is a testimony to the hard work and commitment of all Leonine employees over the years. Our combination with Mediawan to create a pan-European powerhouse is the next step and will bring exciting benefits to our valued partners and customers in Germany, the US and beyond.”

Philipp Freise, co-head of European private equity at Manhattan-based KKR, added: “KKR’s investments in Mediawan and Leonine follow a long history of investing behind exceptional entrepreneurs in talent and IP-centred businesses.”

Completion of the takeover deal is subject to clearance from the authorities in Germany and Austria, as well as certain other regulatory approvals, the two companies said.


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