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Banijay to acquire Endemol Shine in $2.2 billion deal

The merge will likely have ramifications in India.

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MUMBAI: Now that’s what we call a mother of an acquisition. French production company Banijay Group  – which is headed in Asia by Deepak Dhar – has announced that it will acquire the Walt Disney: Appollo Global Management-owned Endemol Shine Group at a sticker price of $2.2 billion.

A press release stated that the deal will encompass Endemol Shine’s 120 production labels with an estimated 66,000 hours of scripted and non-scripted programming together with over 4,300 registered formats. Upon completion of the acquisition, Banijay Group will own almost 200 production companies in 23 territories and the rights for close to 100,000 hours of content. The merged entity will have around 100,000 hours of content, making it the largest non-US production outfit. Total pro-forma revenue of the combined group is expected to be approximately $3.3 billion for the year ending 31 December 2019.

Parleys for a deal between the two have been going on for more than 18 months now. The asking price early on was a humungous $4 billion, which lead to other interested parties like talent agency Endeavor and ITV losing interest quickly.

The acquisition will be financed through a capital increase of Banijay Group and committed debt financing, which includes a committed full refinancing of Banijay and Endemol Shine’s existing financial debt, supported by Deutsche Bank, Natixis and Société Générale. Endemol Shine’s respective debt was approximately $486 million ($539.5 million) and $1.83 billion ($2 billion) as of December 2018. Postclosing, the combined group will be held by LDH (67.1 per cent ) and Vivendi (32.9 per cent).

LDH is a holding company controlled by Financière LOV (52 per cent), Banijay chairman Stéphane Courbit’s investment arm. LDH has the following other shareholders: the Italian Group De Agostini with 36 per cent  of the capital, and Fimalac, the investment company of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, which will own 12 per cent of the capital through a reserved capital increase dedicated to the financing of the Endemol Shine acquisition. In addition to a direct investment in LDH, Fimalac will reinforce its long-term partnership with Financière LOV by increasing its stake in Financière LOV from 5.75 per cent to 8.4 per cent.

The press release stated that: “Boosting Banijay Group’s scripted credentials and further building its reputation as a go-to provider of high-quality unscripted IP, the combined catalogue is expected to include some of the world’s best known brands and formats such as Black Mirror, Versailles, The Millennium Trilogy, Peaky Blinders, Big Brother, MasterChef, Survivor, Temptation Island, Wife Swap and The Island. Furthermore, with a significantly broader brand portfolio, and larger creative platform, the combined group will be in an even stronger position to create, nurture and drive fresh IP for both linear broadcasters and new players.”

“Endemol Shine brings an incredible array of industry-leading talent, globally-renowned brands and high-quality creative content. Combining the resources of these two companies will instantly strengthen our position in the global market, and our capabilities across genres will further define us as a go-to provider of first class IP worldwide. Welcoming the Endemol Shine brands and talents to our existing business will signal enhanced opportunities in the marketplace, and we are all excited by what the future holds for the combined entity,” said Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti.

“At Endemol Shine, we have continually inspired and entertained audiences around the world, a testament to every single person across the Group. This deal takes us into a whole new and exciting chapter and into a new enhanced global content house with many opportunities ahead,” added Endemol Shine Group CEO Sophie Turner Laing.

The merger – when it is approved by the authorities  - is likely to lead to a rationalisation of manpower at both the groups.

In India, Endemol Shine is amongst the top three production companies by revenue and is headed by CEO Abhishekh Rege. The overseas merger will probably result in him once again reporting to his former Endemol Shine India boss Deepak Dhar who has since gone on to set up Banijay Asia. The latter has been on an overdrive and in a very short span of time has emerged as amongst the top 10 producers in India. The Rajeash Kamat, Paul Aiello-headed Emerald Media group is one of the equity owners in Endemol Shine India.

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