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

 

Nine Entertainment to take over Fairfax media in estimated A$4BN deal

Nine EntertainmentAustralia’s Nine Entertainment is to take over Fairfax Media, for an estimated A$4 billion. The television network will take a controlling 51.1% stake in the newly merged company, which will be renamed NEC, or Nine Entertainment Company. Nine will acquire all of Fairfax’s shares and take a controlling 51.1% share in the new business, which will be called NEC. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Fairfax shareholders will receive 0.3627 Nine shares for each Fairfax share held and $0.025 cash. It represents a 21.9% premium to Fairfax’s closing share price of 77c on 25 July 2018.

Hugh Marks of Nine will be the new chief executive and Peter Costello, the Nine chairman, will now lead the board of the new business.

Costello said, “Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years. The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff, and all Australians in the years ahead.”

Marks added, “The ground-breaking merger – harnessing the strength, assets, quality and reach of two of the country’s most famous industry brands – is another highly significant step in the evolution of Nine’s business into one of the most powerful media organisations in the country. The scope of this deal is genuinely quite breathtaking. In addition to our existing television and digital businesses, the new NEC will also become the proprietor of the iconic Fairfax mastheads as well as the new majority owner of Domain (60%) and the Macquarie Radio Network (54.5%)“.

Fairfax Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said, “The proposed transaction for Fairfax reflects the success of Fairfax’s transformation strategy which has created value for shareholders through targeted investment in high growth businesses, such as Domain and Stan, and prudent management of our media assets. The combination with Nine provides an exciting opportunity to continue to drive incremental value well into the future. We are confident that the strength of the combined management team and staff will ensure the continuation of our quality journalism.”

Australia, Sydney

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Update: Department of Justice approves Disney bid for Fox

walt disney companyThe Department of Justice has approved the Walt Disney Company’s $71 billion bid for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox. The government’s approval was filed in federal court on the condition that Disney, which already owns ESPN, divest all of Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which include valuable channels like the Yankees’ YES network.

“Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution,” Makan Delrahim, the head the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a statement.

USA, Burbank, CA & New York, NY

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Disney increases its bid for Fox to $71.3BN

walt disney companyThe Walt Disney Company has upped its bid to acquire 21st Century Fox by 35 % to $71.3 billion, following a rival bid from the Comcast Corporation last week for $65bn (£48.6bn) in cash.

Disney has also moved from of an all-stock deal for Fox, owner of assets including X-Men film studio 20th Century Fox, and a 39% stake in Sky, to a 50/50 mix of cash and shares.

USA, Burbank, CA & New York, NY

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Kew Media Group to acquire Essential Quail Media Group

Kew Media GroupKew Media Group Inc. has agreed to acquire Essential Quail Media Group for an initial purchase price of AUD$32.8 million (C$31.9 million based on the current CAD/AUD FX rate of approximately 0.972), comprised of AUD$20.0 million (C$19.4 million) in cash and AUD$12.8 million (C$12.4 million) in Class B shares of KEW valued at C$10.00 per share.

EQ Media combines several entities with aggregate pro forma revenue of over AUD$60 million (C$58 million). The initial purchase price represents a transaction multiple of approximately 3.2x EQ Media’s estimated Adjusted EBITDA of AUD$10.2 million (C$9.9 million) for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. The cash portion of the initial purchase price will be funded through cash on hand and KEW’s credit facilities. The vendors may receive additional consideration in the future, conditional upon EQ Media meeting certain financial targets and other tests, which are described below.

EQ Media is a leading independent producer of high quality content for international audiences operating from offices in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth in the U.S. and Sydney, Australia. EQ Media produces content in a variety of genres, particularly non-scripted television series, for broadcast customers worldwide. Buyers of EQ Media’s programming include DIY, HGTV, Cooking Channel, Animal Planet, ABC Australia, SBS, Foxtel Networks 7, 9 & 10, BBC, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery, Sundance, History Channel, Arte, Netflix and Fox Network. EQ Media also has a longstanding relationship with Scripps Networks (now part of Discovery Inc.), producing more than a dozen full series orders and pilots together.

Steven Silver, KEW Founder & CEO, said, “EQ Media is an exciting addition to the KEW group and the transaction purchase price is an attractive valuation for such a prominent content producer. We expect the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings and to free cash flow. In addition, we expect to generate meaningful synergies from the sale of additional EQ Media content through KEW’s global distribution platform.”

Canada, Toronto & USA, Los Angeles, CA

Sinclair Broadcast Group to sell TV stations as part of Tribune acquisition

SinclairSinclair Broadcast Group Inc is selling 23 television stations to several companies after completing its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.

The sales are to obtain the necessary governmental approval of the Tribune transaction, the company said, as it has worked for months to win regulatory approval for the deal.

Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair, said, “After a very robust divestiture process, with strong interest from many parties, we have achieved healthy multiples on the stations we are divesting. While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step forward in our plan to create a leading broadcast platform with local focus and national reach. The combined company will continue to advance industry technology, including the Next Generation Broadcast Platform, and to benefit from significant revenue and expense synergies”.

Standard Media Group, an affiliate of Standard General L.P., will acquire the following nine television stations in seven markets for $441.7 million in cash:

KOKH-TV, Oklahoma City, OK (affiliated to FOX)
WXMI, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI (affiliated to FOX)
WPMT, Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA (affiliated to FOX)
WXLV-TV, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC (affiliated to ABC)
WRLH-TV, Richmond-Petersburg, VA (affiliated to FOX)
WOLF-TV (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to FOX)
WSWB (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to CW)
WQMY (1), Wilkes Barre-Hazelton-Scranton, PA (affiliated to MY)
KDSM-TV, Des Moines-Ames, IA (affiliated to FOX)
(1) Sinclair is not the licensee of these stations and will only be selling the assets of such stations that Sinclair owns, together with its right to purchase the licenses of the stations.

Meredith Corp will acquire CW-affiliated KPLR-11 in St. Louis for $65 million. Additionally, three stations are going to Howard Stirk and two are going to shared services agreement partner Cunningham Media. The buyer for the remaining seven stations is yet to be named.

USA, Hunt Valley, MD & Washington, WA & St Louis, MO & Baltimore, MD

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