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

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Walt Disney set to acquire 21st Century Fox businesses for $52.4BN

walt disney companyThe Walt Disney Company has entered into an agreement to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock.

Prior to the acquisition, 21st Century Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders.

Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of 21st Century Fox will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century Fox share they hold. Disney will also assume approximately $13.7 billion of net debt of 21st Century Fox. The acquisition price implies a total equity value of approximately $52.4 billion and a total transaction value of approximately $66.1 billion for the business to be acquired by Disney, which includes consolidated assets along with a number of equity investments.

The acquisition is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost savings from efficiencies realized through the combination of businesses, and to be accretive to earnings before the impact of purchase accounting for the second fiscal year after the close of the transaction.

Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, said, “We’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings. The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world.” Mr. Iger will continue as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company until the end of 2021.

USA, Burbank, CA & New York, NY

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ITV acquires US TV production company Thinkfactory Media

itvITV plc is acquiring a controlling stake in Thinkfactory Media, a US producer of reality, entertainment and drama, including the Emmy award-winning Hatfields & McCoys. Based in Los Angeles, the company was founded by Emmy-nominated Producer, Leslie Greif. Think Factory Media produces programming in most genres for television including:  features, unscripted series, documentaries, mini-series, branded entertainment projects, concerts, music specials and various movies of the week.

thinkfactorymedia

ITV will pay an upfront cash consideration of $30m for a 65% stake in Thinkfactory Media, with a put and call option to buy theremaining 35% of the company. The put and call option could be exercised from between 3 years after the initial deal and at the end of year 5 with the total amount paid linked to the performance of the company over that period.  ITV says that the multiple paid is similar to the range paid on their previous acquisitions.

UK, London & USA, Losa Angeles, CA

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Gannett to acquire television company Belo

gannettInternational media business Gannett is to acquire television company Belo in a deal that nearly doubles Gannett’s broadcast portfolio.

Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus the assumption of belo$715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1 percent premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.

Belo Corp. owns and operates 20 television stations and their associated websites.  Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households.

The Company anticipates that the transaction will generate approximately $175 million in annual run-rate synergies within three years after closing.  The transaction valuation implies a 9.4x average 2011/2012 EBITDA multiple prior to synergies, and a 5.4x multiple assuming expected synergies.

Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett, said, “We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership.  We have been successfully transforming Gannett into a diversified multi-media company with broadcast, digital and publishing components across high-growth markets nationwide, and this is another important step in the process.  It will significantly improve our cash flow and financial strength, enabling us to quickly pay down debt while remaining committed to disciplined capital allocation.  By enhancing our portfolio with one of the largest, most geographically diverse and network-balanced TV station groups in the country, the new Gannett will be well positioned to lead innovation, bolster our existing growth initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape.”

USA, McLean, VA & Dallas, TX

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CBS Corporation acquired the rest of TV Guide Digital

CBSCBS Corporation has wholly acquired TV Guide Digital, which includes the  TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile properties. In March Fusion DigiNet reported that CBS took over the TV Guide stake held by One Equity Partners, the private-equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase, which owned 49% of the company, with the option to buy another 1%. CBS was said to be paying about $100 million for the 49% stake.

Under the terms of the new deal, CBS Corporation has acquired the remaining 50 percent stake in TV Guide Digital shares from tvguide_logo_tatLionsgate. CBS and Lionsgate’s 50/50 partnership for the highly distributed TVGN cable network, announced on March 26, will continue.

TVGuide.com and the TV Guide Mobile apps will become part of CBS Interactive’s Technology, Games and Lifestyle group.

“TV Guide is one of the most-enduring and iconic brands in the world of television and video, and we’re proud to welcome TV Guide Digital to the CBS Interactive family,” said Jim Lanzone , President of CBS Interactive. “TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile have the biggest and most-engaged audiences in the valuable TV information category, making them a perfect fit for our portfolio of premium content brands.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & San Francisco, CA

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CBS acquires 50% of TV Guide

CBS Corp. is acquiring 50% of of TV Guide, the company that encompasses TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) and TVGuide.com.

CBS is taking over the TV Guide stake held by One Equity Partners, the private-equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase, which owned 49% of the company, with an option to buy another 1%. CBS is said to be paying about $100 million, less than the $122 million OEP spent in June 2009. CBS joins TVGN co-owner Lionsgate Entertainment.

“This is a strategic way for CBS to use its content brands and gain access to a highly distributed basic cable network that has a lot of upside,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “Lionsgate, led by my friend Jon Feltheimer, is a forward-thinking content company and a great partner for us here. We’re excited to bring CBS’s programming and production assets to the venture, and work with Lionsgate to rebrand and grow a channel that will be increasingly valuable to our carriage partners.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA

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