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

Related articles:

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

Related articles:

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

Related articles:

Meredith Corporation completes acquisition of Time Inc.

MeredithMeredith Corporation has completed its acquisition of Time Inc., with February 2018 the first day of operations for the combined company. Time Inc. shareholders received $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion originally announced on 26 November 2017. Meredith also announced fiscal 2018 second quarter and first half results.

Meredith Corporation Chairman and CEO Stephen M. Lacy said, “With this acquisition, we are creating a premier media and marketing company serving 200 million American consumers that’s positioned for growth across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile, and social platforms. The combined portfolio joins the rich content-creation capabilities of many of the media industry’s strongest national brands with a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings.”

USA, New York, NY & Des Moines, Iowa

Related articles

Mediawan acquires 3 major French production companies

MediawanMediawan, an independent European audiovisual content platform, is planning to acquire majority stakes in three production companies: Makever, Mon Voisin Productions and Storia Television (the company created to take over EuropaCorp’s TV business, excluding US series).

Under the terms, Mediawan (i) has acquired, through the Storia Television subsidiary, part of EuropaCorp Television’s business, and (ii) would purchase majority stakes in Makever and Mon Voisin Productions subject to the finalization of the transactional documents and to the usual conditions precedent for these types of transactions. All of these transactions could be finalized during the first quarter of 2018.

These companies gather together numerous major projects in France and internationally. They would allow Mediawan to continue supplement its premium content offering and expand its production volumes, as they represented revenues of over €50 million in 2017. Mediawan is thus strengthening its position in European independent production, notably by becoming the leading French producer of TV fiction.

Pierre-Antoine Capton, Mediawan’s Chairman of the Board, says: “These strategic investments in EuropaCorp TV, Makever and Mon Voisin Productions would be another milestone in the implementation of Mediawan’s strategy. With an extensive offering of premium content combining fiction, animated content and documentaries, Mediawan is in the best position possible to meet the substantial market demand.”

France, Paris

RTL Group acquires United Screens

RTLThe RTL Group has fully acquired United Screens, the leading multi-platform network in the Nordic countries. The transaction, which closed on 2 January 2018, provides for a price of SEK 120 million (€12.4 million) on a debt and cash-free basis subject to usual post-closing adjustments. Additionally, RTL Group plans to invest SEK 25 million (€2.6 million) to fund the company’s growth plan across the Nordic region.

United Screens generates over 500 million video views a month on YouTube and represents hundreds of influencers in music, lifestyle and entertainment across all social media platforms. The company was founded by Malte Andreasson, Stina Bergfors and Bonnier Ventures in 2013 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden, with offices in Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland. Bonnier Ventures financed the company since the early start. Before the foundation of United Screens, Malte Andreasson worked as Scheduling Director for the Swedish channel TV4, while Stina Bergfors was the Country Director for Google and YouTube in Sweden. Malte Andreasson continues to head United Screens as CEO.

RTL Group CEO Bert Habets, who has become Chairman of the Board of United Screens following the transaction, said: “This acquisition is another step in accelerating our ‘Total Video’ strategy, as United Screens strengthens our MPN presence in Europe. With our highly popular creators and leading market positions in each territory, RTL Group is the only European company to offer advertisers pan-European digital video campaigns in premium and brand-safe environments.”

Luxembourg & Sweden, Stockholm

Related articles