Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquires Bayou City Broadcasting for $165M

Entertainment StudiosEntertainment Studios, Inc., one of the US’s largest independent producers and distributors of film and television, with 43 shows on the air, and owner of nine 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 160 million subscribers, has acquired Bayou City Broadcasting Evansville, Inc., and Bayou City Broadcasting Lafayette, Inc for $165 million. Founder Byron Allen is purchasing the station groups through his company, Allen Media Broadcasting LLC. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Byron Allen, who recently joined Sinclair Broadcast Group to successfully acquire the Fox/Disney 21 Regional Sports Networks for $10.6 billion, and also purchased The Weather Channel in 2018, has publicly stated he has been aggressively pursuing additional media assets to purchase. The purchase of these four Bayou City Broadcasting entities — WEVV (CBS) & WEEV (Fox) in Evansville, Indiana and KLAF (NBC) and KADN (Fox) in Lafayette, Louisiana — provides Allen’s television unit with a broader audience and strategically positions the company in broadcast and digital media.

Bayou City Broadcasting Owner/President/CEO DuJuan McCoy said, “Byron Allen is a visionary, and a brilliant entrepreneur who always gets it done. [His] companies, which exemplify excellence, are perfectly positioned to continue the strong tradition these stations have in serving their communities.”

Allen’s expansion into broadcast television is the latest step Entertainment Studios has taken in further expanding the global reach of its programming and content. The Entertainment Studios divisions now include: broadcast television network affiliates, streaming services, broadcast television syndication, production and distribution of 43 television programs, nine 24/7 HD television networks, theatrical motion picture production, acquisition and global distribution, digital movie acquisition and distribution, and global news publishing – making Entertainment Studios one of the largest privately-held media companies in the world.

USA, Los Angeles, CA & The Woodlands, TX

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Sinclair Broadcast Group to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Disney for $10.6 Billion

Sinclair Broadcast GroupSinclair Broadcast Group and The Walt Disney Company have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.. The transaction ascribes a total enterprise value to the RSNs equal to $10.6 billion, reflecting a purchase price of $9.6 billion, after adjusting walt disney companyfor minority equity interests. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The RSN portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is the largest collection of RSNs in the marketplace today, with an extensive footprint that includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams. In 2018, the RSN portfolio delivered a combined $3.8 billion in revenue across 74 million subscribers.

The RSNs will be acquired via a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group LLC. Byron Allen has agreed to become an equity and content partner in a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent of Diamond. Mr. Allen, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018, is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Studios, a global media, content and technology company.

Sinclair expects to capitalize Diamond with $1.4 billion in cash equity, comprised of a combination of approximately $0.7 billion of cash on hand and a contribution of $0.7 billion in the form of new fully committed debt at Sinclair Television Group, Inc. In addition, the purchase price will be funded with $1.0 billion of fully committed privately-placed preferred equity of a newly-formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and direct parent of RSN Holding Company. The remainder of the purchase price is being funded by $8.2 billion of fully committed secured and unsecured debt incurred by Diamond. The transaction will be treated as an asset sale for tax purposes, with Sinclair receiving a full step-up in basis.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both Sinclair and Disney.

Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair, said, “This is a very exciting transaction for Sinclair to be able to acquire highly complementary assets. While consumer viewing habits have shifted, the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture. As one of the largest local news producers in the country and an experienced producer of sports content, we are ideally positioned to transfer our skills to deliver and expand our focus on greater premium sports programming.”

“The transaction is expected to be highly accretive to free cash flow and brings consolidated net leverage to 4.7x and 5.1x through the preferred financing. This acquisition is an extraordinary opportunity to diversify Sinclair’s content sources and revenue streams with high-quality assets that are driving live viewing. We also see this as an opportunity to realize cross-promotional collaboration, and synergistic benefits related to programming and production.”

USA, Baltimore & Burbank, CA & Hunt Valley, MD

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ZDF Enterprises invests in Nadcon Film

ZDF EnterprisesZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of German public broadcaster ZDF, has acquired shares in Nadcon Film, gaining a majority stake in the company. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Nadcon Film was founded in 2012 by Peter Nadermann and Constantin Film, and specialises in co-producing film and television projects, mainly with international partners. Nadermann will remain the managing director of the German company following ZDF Enterprises’ takeover of the majority of the shares previously held by Constantin Film.

Fred Burcksen, president and CEO of ZDF Enterprises, said, “We are pleased to be able to resume our successful collaboration while taking on a corporate structure. ZDF Enterprises and Peter Nadermann set the trend many years ago by being the first to invest in Scandinavian crime series and successfully distribute them around the globe. The result: the widely recognised international interest in ‘Nordic Noir’ remains as strong and steady as ever. We are confident that we will be able to come up with new ideas and create trends within this new cooperation.”

Germany, Mainz & Munich

Blue Ant acquires Saloon Media

Blue Ant MediaCanadian broadcaster, producer and distributor Blue Ant Media has acquired Toronto-based factual production company Saloon Media as part of its ongoing expansion in North America. The move will see Saloon’s CEO Michael Kot, executive producers Steve Gamester and Paul Kilback, and head of production Betty Orr join Blue Ant’s global production unit. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Blue Ant has already brought NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (LA), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney) under the unit’s control in recent years.

Saloon launched in 2013, and recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for History (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (US) and Yesterday (UK). It has also worked on Tornado Hunters for CMT, coproduced See No Evil for Investigation Discovery with UK indie Arrow Media, and made Hunting Nazi Treasure for History (Canada), American Heroes Channel (US) and More4 (UK).

Sam Sniderman, Blue Ant’s EVP global production, said, ““Blue Ant Media is committed to growing its content business in both Canada and the United States. The acquisition of Saloon Media is a key step in the execution of this strategy, as their award-winning factual content and notable creative talent fit perfectly within our content growth strategy in North America.”

Canada, Toronto

Entertainment One completes acquisition of Sierra Pictures

Entertainment OneEntertainment One has completed the purchase of the remaining stake in feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures, in which it first invested in 2015. As part of the move, Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg have joined the company as president of film and executive VP of film and global operations, respectively. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sierra Pictures has backed the likes of “Tully,” “American Animals,” and the upcoming adaptation of James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.” In his new role, Meyer will oversee all film content across eOne, while remaining CEO of Sierra/Affinity, the international sales company that is wholly owned by eOne. Schaberg will also continue as COO of Sierra/Affinity in addition to taking on his new role at eOne. Sierra/Affinity will remain independently operated.

eOne’s CEo Darren Throop said, “Welcoming Sierra to eOne is an important next step in our strategy to increase our direct involvement and ownership in content. Together, we will continue to build strong relationships with high-profile creative talent domestically and abroad”.

Canada, Toronto & USA, Beverly Hills, CA

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Kew Media Group to acquire Essential Quail Media Group

Kew Media GroupKew Media Group Inc. has agreed to acquire Essential Quail Media Group for an initial purchase price of AUD$32.8 million (C$31.9 million based on the current CAD/AUD FX rate of approximately 0.972), comprised of AUD$20.0 million (C$19.4 million) in cash and AUD$12.8 million (C$12.4 million) in Class B shares of KEW valued at C$10.00 per share.

EQ Media combines several entities with aggregate pro forma revenue of over AUD$60 million (C$58 million). The initial purchase price represents a transaction multiple of approximately 3.2x EQ Media’s estimated Adjusted EBITDA of AUD$10.2 million (C$9.9 million) for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. The cash portion of the initial purchase price will be funded through cash on hand and KEW’s credit facilities. The vendors may receive additional consideration in the future, conditional upon EQ Media meeting certain financial targets and other tests, which are described below.

EQ Media is a leading independent producer of high quality content for international audiences operating from offices in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth in the U.S. and Sydney, Australia. EQ Media produces content in a variety of genres, particularly non-scripted television series, for broadcast customers worldwide. Buyers of EQ Media’s programming include DIY, HGTV, Cooking Channel, Animal Planet, ABC Australia, SBS, Foxtel Networks 7, 9 & 10, BBC, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery, Sundance, History Channel, Arte, Netflix and Fox Network. EQ Media also has a longstanding relationship with Scripps Networks (now part of Discovery Inc.), producing more than a dozen full series orders and pilots together.

Steven Silver, KEW Founder & CEO, said, “EQ Media is an exciting addition to the KEW group and the transaction purchase price is an attractive valuation for such a prominent content producer. We expect the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings and to free cash flow. In addition, we expect to generate meaningful synergies from the sale of additional EQ Media content through KEW’s global distribution platform.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, Los Angeles, CA