DLT Entertainment acquires Vera Productions

DLT EntertainmentIndependent production and distribution company DLT Entertainment has acquired production company Vera Productions. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Through the deal Vera will continue to operate as a separate company under the DLT banner but will be wholly owned by DLT Entertainment. DLT will acquire Vera’s portfolio of extensive programming, approximately 300 hours in the catalogue, with series currently represented by a number of distributors.

Vera launched in 1994, and has since produced an extensive portfolio of award-winning shows including Bremner Bird and Fortune, three series of Getting On starring Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, and Joanna Scanlan for BBC Four, four series of Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression for BBC One, six series of Mark Thomas Product and numerous Dispatches for Channel 4, including the recent President Trump’s Dirty Secrets, Politicians for Hire and How to Buy A Football Club. In addition, Vera has produced several pieces for Channel 4 News and created Big Trouble in Thailand for Bravo, and most recently produced Million Pound Jewellers for Channel 4 Arts and three episodes of Going Forward starring Jo Brand and Omid Djalili for BBC Four.

Donald Taffner Jr., President of DLT Entertainment, said, “We have had a long regard for the shows that Vera has produced […]. DLT are not in the production company aggregation business for growth and this acquisition does not signal a change in that philosophy, but welcomes Vera to the DLT family where we will provide business and financial support while Vera Productions will continue as the production entity for its programmes. It is a very exciting time.”

UK, London

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. acquires The Weather Channel

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, one of the largest independent producers and distributors of film and television with nearly 160 million aggregate subscribers across the US, has acquired The Weather Group, parent company of The Weather Channel television network and Local Now streaming service. Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, purchased the Weather Group through his company, Allen Media LLC, from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and Comcast/NBC Universal.

The Weather Channel is one of the largest cable television networks not owned by a major conglomerate and is the nation’s only 24-hour source of national storm coverage. Harris Poll has ranked The Weather Channel as the “TV News Brand of the Year” for eight years in a row. The network recently launched a community platform, weloveweather.tv, to create a two-way dialogue with fans.

Allen said, “The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives. We welcome The Weather Channel, which has been seen in American households for nearly four decades, to our cable television networks division. The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & Atlanta, GA

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Digital First Media acquires the Boston Herald for $11.9M

Digital First MediaDigital First Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the Boston Herald for $11.9 million at an auction in which they outbid competitors GateHouse Media and Florida private equity firm Revolution Capital Group. The auction followed Herald publisher Patrick Purcell filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017, citing declining revenue and readership.

Established in 1846 as a single two-sided sheet of news published by a group of Boston printers, the Boston Herald today has a circulation of 64,500, with an online following at BostonHerald.com.

Guy Gilmore, DFM’s chief operating officer, said, “DFM is pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Herald through the next chapter of its storied history. The Herald is integral to the fabric of the great city of Boston”.

USA, Denver, CO & Boston, MA

Keshet acquires majority stake in Greenbird Media

Keshet InternationalKeshet International, the global production and distribution arm of Israeli media giant Keshet, has acquired a majority stake in UK production company incubator, investor and biz accelerator Greenbird Media. The deal sees Keshet up its share of Greenbird and take over BBC Worldwide’s 30% stake in the company. Further details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Greenbird, a venture from Shine TV executive Jamie Munro and Stuart Mullin from Argonon, was founded in 2012 and provides independent producers with access to innovative funding models and licensing deals to support their creative productions.

KI, known for “Homeland,” “The A Word” and “Rising Star,” will become distribution partner for Greenbird Media’s production companies and boost its roster with more entertainment and factual content, while Greenbird will continue to guide its independent producers in terms of funding and licensing deals for creative productions.

Alon Shtruzman, CEO of Keshet International, said, “Greenbird Media, with its entrepreneurial and creative culture, is the perfect match for us. We share similar philosophies and values, and by combining KI’s global footprint with Greenbird Media’s stellar team, I see limitless possibilities and accelerated growth.”

Israel, Jerusalem & UK, London

 

Lagardère acquires majority stake in Skyhigh TV

LagardereThe French audiovisual production group Lagardère Studios has taken a majority stake in Dutch TV production company Skyhigh TV. The move follows the acquisition of Boomerang TV in Spain and Aito Media Group in Finland respectively in 2015 and 2017. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Skyhigh was founded in 1999 and specializes in the production and distribution of entertainment, factual and documentary programs. It is owned by its three founding shareholders: Marc Dik, Wilfred Drechsler and Bernard van den Bosch.

The largest indie television producer in the Netherlands, Skyhigh produces 35 series per year, including such successful projects as The Bully Project, Model in One Day and Teen Mom Celebrity Support.

Christophe Thoral, president of Lagardère Studios said, “The Netherlands is the third largest exporter of TV formats in the world. Our acquisition of Skyhigh TV naturally serves to further our strategy for international growth, but it will also accelerate our policy of creating and circulating formats among our various structures”.

France, Boulogne-Billancourt & Netherlands, Hilversum

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Discovery Communications Inc. completes acquisition of Scripps Networks interactive to create Discovery, Inc.

Discovery Communications IncDiscovery Communications has completed its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, with the combined company to be officially known as Discovery, Inc.

Scripps Networks Interactive is a leading developer of lifestyle-content for television and the Internet. The company’s brands includes HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and country music network Great American Country.

Scripps shareholders will receive approximately $90 per share, consisting of $65.82 per share in cash and 1.0584 per share in Series C Common shares of Discovery stock valued based on a volume weighted average price (subject to elections and proration), in each case in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement. This includes a cash payment of $2.82 per share in connection with Discovery’s previously announced decision to exercise in full the cash top-up option under the merger agreement.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share and to free cash flow in the first year after closing, including significant cost synergies. The combination is expected to create a strong economic model with capacity for rapid debt repayment and a clear runway for growth and value creation.

Kenneth W. Lowe, former Chairman, President & CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, will join Discovery’s board of directors, effective immediately.

David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer for Discovery, said, “Today marks another critical milestone for Discovery, as we become a differentiated kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of family-friendly brands around the globe. As a new global leader in real life entertainment, Discovery will serve loyal and passionate audiences around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains across every screen; deliver new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; and leverage our leadership position to create new value and growth opportunities for all of our stakeholders.”

USA, Silver Spring, MD & Knoxville, TN

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Imagine Entertainment acquires Tony Hernandez’s Jax Media

ImagineImagine Entertainment has acquired Jax Media, the fast-growing production banner headed by Tony Hernandez. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New York-based Jax Media has made a name for itself by producing auteur-driven comedy series and specials for modest budgets. Hernandez will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the company. Jax is home to TBS’ “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and “Search Party,” Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and “Inside Amy Schumer,” BET’s “The Rundown with Robin Thede,” TV Land’s “Younger” and ABC’s “Roseanne” revival, among other shows.

Imagine Entertainment principal Brian Grazer said, “Our company’s roots are in comedy, and I am excited to work with Tony and Jax Media to build upon what Ron (Howard) and I first started. Tony has a keen eye for talent and exceptional taste and execution”.

USA, Beverly Hills, CA & New York, NY