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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American Media acquires celebrity and kids group titles from Bauer Media USA

American Media IncAmerican Media, Inc., has agreed to purchase the celebrity group and the teenage and kids group of Bauer Media USA. Details of the transaction were not disclosed but it is expected to close on or about July 1, 2018. With this agreement, AMI will take ownership of the complementary print and digital properties for the 13 brands within these two groups. Titles such as In Touch, Life & Style, Closer, J-14 and Teen Boss will round out AMI’s current portfolio.

AMI owns and operates the leading print and digital celebrity and active lifestyle media brands in the United States. AMI’s titles include Us Weekly, OK!, Star, Men’s Journal, Muscle & Fitness, Mr. Olympia Contest, National Enquirer and other celebrity titles. AMI also manages nine different digital sites including Usmagazine.com, OKmagazine.com, RadarOnline.com, MensJournal.com, MuscleandFitness.com and other digital and social properties. AMI’s magazines have a combined total circulation of 5.3+ million and reach more than 51 million men and women each month. AMI’s digital properties reach approximately 60 million unique visitors monthly.

Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce this acquisition which provides AMI with an extraordinary opportunity to further build upon the success of our entertainment group. AMI has built an award-winning portfolio of celebrity brands second to none in the industry. Our leadership team will remain focused on growth, innovation and continued disruption with today’s changes designed to further reinforce our leading position in the publishing industry and foster remarkable storytelling across all of our brands and platforms.”

USA, New York, NY & Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Gfinity plc acquires RealSM Limited, owner of RealSport

GFinityGfinity plc, a leading international esports entertainment group, has acquired the entire issued share capital of RealSM Limited, owner of the fan-oriented digital sports media platform, RealSport, for a total consideration for approximately £2.4 million, to be settled wholly in new shares in Gfinity. The acquisition will be paid for by issuing 12.3 million Gfinity shares at 19.317 pence each. The share price was the average closing price over the last 15 days prior to the deal being announced.

Founded in January 2016, RealSport’s platform features original content, including news documentaries, podcasts, analysis and opinions. The company has rapidly built an online user base of more than half a million active monthly users with esports currently accounting for over 40% of all traffic on its website. Gfinity will use the RealSport platform alongside its own to build the esports community.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Gfinity will integrate RealSport’s online real estate into its business operations. Gfinity will also acquire the services of the team of seven key employees including the co-founders, Roei Samuel and Scott Hurst, together with their network of contributors, who have driven the rapid growth in the RealSport digital platform.

Gfinity Chief Executive Officer Neville Upton said, ”RealSport has done a great job of building a “go-to” hub for the esports community. They have a very talented team whose expertise in building a digital community will be very valuable to Gfinity. This deal will further help Gfinity continue to drive awareness and engagement in Gfinity and Elite Series brands. We believe this will accelerate Gfinity’s plans to monetise our digital assets and will greatly increase the value of our proposition to our prospective commercial partners.”

UK, London

Endeavor acquires marketing agency 160over90

WMEEndeavor, the new name for the entertainment conglomerate formed after WME’s acquisition of IMG, has agreed to acquire branding and marketing agency 160over90 from private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

160over90 handles branding and marketing for a number of colleges, sports teams and brands, including Ferrari, the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles, UCLA and Under Armour. The agency, which has about 180 employees, will be housed within Endeavor Global Marketing, the division that in recent years has acquired experiential agencies IMG LIVE and Fusion Marketing, as well as public relations firm Catalyst. Endeavor also has a stake in ad agency darling Droga5.

Mark Shapiro, co-president of WME and IMG, which still exist as independent businesses within Endeavor, said, “As the business continues to move away from the 30-second spot and into a full-fledged focus on experiences, we want to be fully armed and stand out with a unique platform. The 160over90 agency can enhance the platforms and channels and content that we are creating and producing for our clients, from Hollywood to sports.”

USA, New York, NY & Philadelphia, PA

IMG acquires Exhibitions International

IMGIMG, subsidiary of US talent agency Endeavor, has acquired the global museum exhibition producer Exhibitions International, as well as its portfolio of events including King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh (on which the two companies had previously collaborated), Pompeii: The Exhibition and Mummies of the World.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Exhibitions International will sit within IMG’s events division with arts and entertainment. Furthermore, John Norman, Exhibitions International’s founder and president, will become managing director of exhibitions for IMG Events. Norman’s team will also join IMG Events. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Stephen Flint Wood, SVP and managing director, Arts & Entertainment Events at IMG, said, “I had the pleasure of collaborating with John Norman when we staged Tutankhamun together in Australia in 2011. I quickly realised why John was regarded as the best in the business and was therefore delighted when we had the opportunity for him and the rest of his team to become part of the IMG family. As managing director, John will have the full support and resources of the global IMG network, and we in turn have a new opportunity to expand our world-class events offering.”

USA, New York, NY

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Essence Ventures acquires Essence Communications from Time Inc.

EssenceEssence Ventures LLC, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce, has acquired multi-platform media company Essence Communications Inc. from Time Inc. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The all black female executive team of Essence, including Essence President Michelle Ebanks, will have an equity stake in the business, reestablishing Essence as a 100% black-owned independent company.

Since its founding in 1970, Essence has advocated women’s empowerment and the diverse images and lifestyles of black women. Today, Essence is an international, omni-channel destination for diverse storytelling and original content comprising beauty, fashion, lifestyle, entertainment and culture.

Essence currently reaches a global audience of more than 16 million across its various platforms encompassing its signature print magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials, and live events, including the annual Essence Festival, a cultural celebration that debuted in 1995 and is now one of the country’s largest annual events, attracting more than 450,000 attendees.

Richelieu Dennis, founder and chairperson of Essence Ventures, said “We are excited to be able to return this culturally relevant and historically significant platform to ownership by the people and the consumers whom it serves and offer new opportunities for the women leading the business to also be partners in the business. We remain committed to leveraging our resources to provide opportunities for other culturally-rooted entrepreneurs and businesses that further our culture and create economic opportunities for our communities.”

USA, New York, NY

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Bandzoogle acquires Onesheet To Expand its Artist Website Platform

bandzoogleBandzoogle a website platform for musicians, has acquired Onesheet, a San Francisco based company that provides a simple way for musicians, actors and entertainers to build a one page social website. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bandzoogle will keep Onesheet as an independent product and will relaunch it shortly.

“Onesheet is a great product that tens of thousands of artists and entertainers already use. For artists whose major focus is creating onesheetcontent on their social networks, Onesheet is the fastest, easiest and free way to create a permanent, mobile-friendly web presence” said David Dufresne, Bandzoogle’s CEO. “We also believe the Onesheet product is a perfect fit for actors, comedians and the broader entertainment industry”.

Canada, Montreal & USA, San Francisco, CA