Canal+ acquires Nollywood film studio ROK

Canal+CANAL+ Group has acquired ROK, the leading African film studio and international TV network, in a deal comprising production, content distribution and publishing channels. As part of the transaction, IROKO Ltd will also take full control of the JV IROKO+, the leading subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform in French-speaking Africa. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The move comes as CANAL+ Group looks to strengthen its content production reach in Nigeria and across Africa. As part of the acquisition, ROK founder, Mary Njoku, will continue in a leadership role as Director General of ROK Productions SAS and maintains a material shareholding in the company.

In Africa alone, ROK has produced over 540 movies and 25 original TV series, making ROK one of the most prolific production houses in Nollywood.

ROK will continue to produce Nollywood content to deliver movies and original TV series for CANAL+ Group’s audiences. As part of the acquisition, CANAL+ Group will continue to collaborate with IROKO Ltd, with a non-exclusive content distribution of ROK content via the IROKOtv SVOD app.

ROK was incubated from 2013 onwards by IROKO Ltd, the leading African digital content distributor for Nollywood content, whose flagship platform IROKOtv has transformed how Nollywood content is accessed and consumed around the world.

Speaking on the acquisition, Mary Njoku said, “ROK has captured the imagination of millions of movie fans, and they have truly supported us as we’ve grown the company to celebrate and enjoy our African culture. I’m excited to be taking our platform on the next stage of its journey with CANAL+ Group, who share our passion for creating original content, supporting new talent and together, we have ambitious plans for the future.”

France, Paris & Nigeria, Lagos

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Spackman Entertainment Group acquires Korean film production company Simplex for $2.4M

Spackman Entertainment GroupSpackman Entertainment Group Ltd., one of Korea’s leading entertainment production groups founded by media investor Charles Spackman, has acquired Simplex Films Ltd., an early stage film production firm headed by veteran Korean producer, Lim Ji-young, for approximately $2.4 million. Further terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Simplex intends to produce top quality films to be theatrically released and distributed in Korea and overseas. Simplex shall first release its films initially in Korea and subsequently in post-theatrical markets such as cable television, broadcast television, IPTV, video-on-demand, and home video/DVD, etc.

Simplex’s upcoming film, JESTERS: THE GAME CHANGERS, a historical comedy film starring Cho Jin-woong of INTIMATE STRANGERS (2018) and THE SPY GONE NORTH (2018) and Son Hyun-joo of ORDINARY PERSON (2017), is expected to be released in August 2019 in Korea. The film, which is currently in the post-production stage, is distributed by Warner Bros. Korea and directed by Kim Joo-ho.

John Ko, Chief Executive Officer of Spackman Entertainment Group said, “Through the acquisition of Simplex, the Group shall be able to expand its film production capacity and look forward to positive contribution from Simplex’s maiden film within this fiscal year.”

South Korea, Seoul

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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S4 Capital acquires film studio Caramel Pictures and programmatic business ProgMedia

S4 CapitalMartin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has continued to expand the capabilities of its creative digital content production company MediaMonks and its programmatic consultancy MightyHive with the addition of two businesses.

MediaMonks has purchased food and liquids film studio Caramel Pictures, based in Amsterdam, for an undisclosed cash sum.

Broadening MediaMonks’ content studio’s capabilities, the purchase of the globally-operated studio adds directors, specialist crews, studio, robotic equipment and over 25 years of experience in digital photography and film for FMCG brands.

Caramel Pictures’ clients include Heinekin, KFC, KitKat, Lays, Magnum and Senseo, as well as FMCG companies such as Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever.

MightyHive has merged with ProgMedia, a Sao Paulo-based programmatic consultancy founded two years ago by ex-Google employees Bruno Rebouças and Natalia Fernandes.

ProgMedia will become MightyHive’s Latin American base, helping the consultancy capture market opportunity and extend its capabilities in the world’s fourth largest market. The South American consultancy currently employs 27 people and its clients include iFood and Serasa Consumidor.

Consideration for ProgMedia will be half cash and half in S4 Capital ordinary shares, which will have a two-year restriction on sale. A completion payment will be made based on the audited accounts for 2018 and a further payment will be made based on achieving the targeted earnings before EBITDA for 2019, as soon as the audited accounts are available.

S4 Capital executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell said that these two additions were in line with S4 Capital’s recently announced strategic imperatives. He added, “Client interest in our purely digital, first party data, always-on 24/7 programmatic model is frenetic. These two further strategic moves in the premium quality, digital content area and programmatic in Latam deepen and broaden that powerfully attractive offer.”

UK, London, NL, Amsterdam & Brazil, São Paulo

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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