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Mediawan set to build Euro powerhouse

France’s Mediawan today unveiled a plan to create a pan-European media player by buying Lagardère Studios and Spanish prodco Good Mood and combining this with a stake in Germany’s Leonine, among other assets.

Pierre-Antoine Capton

Mediawan founders Pierre-Antoine Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse today said they would create a holding company called Mediawan Alliance supported by other financing partners, including insurance company MACSF and US private equity outfit KKR, to build a major new player in audiovisual content creation and distribution.

Paris-based Mediawan has entered into exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of Lagardère Studios, acquired a majority stake in Spanish independent production company Good Mood. It has also made a binding offer for French production group Troisième Oeil’s audiovisual activities and will also hold a minority stake in KKR-backed German studio Leonine, both conditional on the completion of an IPO to create Mediawan Alliance.

The Lagardère Studios deal has seen Mediawan submit a binding offer to parent Lagardère Group “for a total consideration of up to €100m [US$112m],” said Mediawan. The deal would include Lagardère Studios’ stakes in 25 other prodcos, including those in France (Atlantique Production, Imagissime, DEMD Productions and others), Spain (Grupo Boomerang), Finland (Aito Media) and the Netherlands (Skyhigh TV).

Regarding German studio Leonine, formed last year from the KKR-backed merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, Wiedemann & Berg Film and W&B Television, CEO Fred Kogel will also assume the position of deputy CEO in Mediawan Alliance. KKR will remain the main shareholder in Leonine with Mediawan Alliance holding a non-controlling minority stake, subject to competition authority approvals.

Media entrepreneur Capton, telecoms tycoon Niel and investment banker Pigasse created publicly listed Mediawan in 2015 and have since expanded rapidly by buying French producer/distributor AB Group and more than 20 other production companies. Mediawan posted €338m in sales last year.

“We created Mediawan four years ago with the intention to create a European audiovisual champion to respond to the demand for premium content, and these new operations are unprecedented steps to continue our growth in new European geographies, new formats and with new partners,” said Capton, chairman of the board of Mediawan and CEO of newly established holding company Mediawan Alliance.

“The combination with key players like Lagardère Studios and Groupe Troisième Oeil and the cooperation projects with Leonine confirm Mediawan’s strategy. I am particularly proud to lead this group and be able to count on the talent of [Leonine CEO] Fred Kogel and his teams.”

Capton said Lagardère Studios “is a key player in the European production scene, with exceptional talents and brands, a recognised expertise in scripted but also in unscripted, a presence in four countries and close relationships with broadcasters and platforms.”

Regarding the deal for Good Mood, the three-year-old company behind shows like El Accidente, Estoy Vivo and La Valla, Capton added: “Good Mood and Mediawan share the same values, vision and ambition. [Founder Daniel Écija] has accomplished remarkable successes since the creation of Good Mood and we are eager to work with him to pursue together the development of Mediawan, not only in the booming Spanish market but in all Spanish-speaking regions.”

Kogel added: “The vision of creating a pan-European film studio that covers the entire value chain of the content business in the European key territories has inspired us since Leonine was founded a year ago. I am more than delighted to assume the position of deputy CEO at Mediawan Alliance and to explore together with Pierre-Antoine the promising opportunities ahead for possible future cooperations and coproductions.”


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