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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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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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

Comcast outbids Fox to acquire Sky in £30BN deal

Comcast CorporationThe Comcast Corporation is to acquire Sky after an unusual blind bidding auction moderated by the UK Takeover Panel saw their offer of £17.28 per share overshadow Fox’s £15.67 rival offer, for a total of £30.6 billion in cash for the entire issued and to be issued Sky share capital. The bid has already been accepted by Sky’s independent directors and shareholders now have until 11 October to decide whether to accept the recommended offer.

The acquisition ends a two-year bidding war and follows Comcast’s unsuccessful attempt to take over Fox in June, when it lost out to Disney. Sky has 26 million customers across Europe, and has backed the production of shows for Amazon, HBO and Showtime. It’s also well known for its sports broadcasting, such as its Premier League channel. Comcast will soon have a much larger international presence in these fields.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s group chief executive, said: “As part of a broader Comcast we believe we will be able to continue to grow and strengthen our position as Europe’s leading direct to consumer media company. Today’s outcome is down to the hard work of tens of thousands of people who have built and developed this business together over the last 30 years. Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase.”

USA, Philadelphia, PA & UK, London

 

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