Unscripted

Zodiak, Banijay to merge

Over a month after Zodiak Media and Banijay Group confirmed merger talks, the companies have today (July 28) agreed to merge, creating a global producer-distributor with a footprint in more than 18 territories.
July 28, 2015

Over a month after Zodiak Media and Banijay Group confirmed they were in merger talks, the companies have today (July 28) agreed to merge, creating a global producer-distributor with a footprint in more than 18 territories.

Together, the company – which is uniting catalogs and production outfits – will have more than US$1 billion in revenues and serve as one of the world’s biggest independent production and distribution companies, as well as the largest not controlled by a media group.

Once the deal closes, Banijay Group founder Stéphane Courbit will be named chairman while Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti will serve as CEO of the merged company, according to a statement from the companies. The role of Zodiak Media CEO Marc-Antoine d’Halluin is as yet unclear. Meanwhile, an “extensive sales arm” will oversee worldwide rights distribution and licensing for in-house and third-party content.

Zodiak Media – majority-owned by Italian conglomerate De Agostini, which also has a minority stake in Banijay Group – is headquartered in Paris, with offices in London, Los Angeles, Milan, Stockholm and Moscow. Key titles in its unscripted portfolio include Wife SwapSecret Millionaire and Hardcore Pawn.

Its roster of UK companies includes RDF Television, IWC Media, Touchpaper Television and Red House, while French operations include GTV, Mona Lisa Production and Adventure Line Productions.

Meanwhile, Banijay Group, also based in Paris, is similarly global in scale, with U.S. holdings such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians producer Bunim/Murray Productions, The World Wars prodco Stephen David Entertainment and European group companies including Nordisk Film TV Denmark and Norway as well as France’s Air Productions and H20 Productions, among others. The company does not currently have any UK holdings.

Further details of the merger are to be announced in due course, the companies say.

The merger is the latest in a series of business tie-ups that are global in scale, including last year’s acquisition of All3Media by Discovery Communications; the merger of Endemol, Shine and Core Media Group resulting in Endemol Shine Group; and ITV Studios’ continuing run of acquisitions, including the purchase of global format powerhouse Talpa Media this past May.

With files from Barry Walsh.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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