People/Biz

Content Media, BGM among six to be acquired by Kew Media

Under the proposed transaction, the Toronto co will bring a number of Canada's most prominent unscripted and branded-content producers under its umbrella.
February 3, 2017

Kew Media Group has made a move to acquire Bristow Global Media (BGM), Architect Films, Frantic Films, Media Headquarters Film and TV, and Our House Media, as well as London- and LA-based film and TV distribution company Content Media Corporation (CMC).

In acquiring CMC, Kew will also bring five companies that are controlled by CMC under its umbrella: New York-based Jigsaw Productions from Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney; Helsinki, Finland-based Aito Media Oy; LA-based Collins Avenue Productions; LA-based Campfire Film & Television; and London-based Spirit Digital Media Limited.

“The combination of CMC’s high-powered sales force with high-growth production companies that create and own superior intellectual property, will provide Kew with a proliferation of distribution and production opportunities,” stated a release announcing the acquisitions, adding that the companies being acquired have more than 250 projects in development and “hundreds of hours of producible content expected to be delivered over the next 12 to 24 months.”

Kew, a Toronto-based media company, is headed up by cofounder of Blue Ice Group, Steven Silver, who serves as CEO, and former Alliance Atlantis exec Peter Sussman, who serves as executive chair. The acquisition is set to bring a library of more than 6,000 hours of content under Kew’s umbrella.

Some of that factual and documentary content includes Jigsaw’s acclaimed Netflix culinary series CookedZero Days, Janis: Little Girl Blue (pictured) and Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief; Bristow Global Media’s Hockey Wives and the upcoming Canada: The Story of Us; and Our House Media’s Paranormal Survivor

The total upfront price of the purchase is approximately CDN$104.1 million (US$80 million) and the transaction is expected to be completed by March 2017. The deal still needs to be approved by shareholders.

In June of 2016, Kew became Canada’s sixth special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to the Financial Post, which reported Kew had raised $70 million (US$54 million) in the process. An SPAC is a company that raises investment through an initial public offering (IPO), usually with the intention of acquiring an existing, privately held company or companies.

Kew Media Group secured a private placement of $20 million (US$15 million) from its current shareholders in addition to new investors, to purchase shares at $10.00 (US$7.69) per share.

Once the transaction is complete, the company will be led by Silver and Sussman. Its board of directors will consist of Silver; Sussman; Julie Bristow, CEO and president of BGM; Sara Curran, MD at Industry Media; David Fleck, partner and SVP of C.A. Delaney Capital; Maurice Kagan, president of the real estate company Canal Group; Patrice Merrin, non-executive director of Glencore, Stillwater Mining Corporation and Novadaq Technologies; Stephen Pincus, senior partner of Goodmans; Wayne Purboo, CEO and founder of Quickplay Media; John Schmidt, CEO of CMC; Mark Segal EVP finance and CFO of Spin Master Corp.; Les Sherman, senior investment advisor and SVP of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth; Neil Tabatznik, former chairman and CEO of Genpharm Inc. and Arrow Canada; and Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Group and executive chairman and chief media officer of Interlude Ltd.

“There has never been a better time to be in the content business. We are incredibly excited by the companies we have brought together in Kew. It is a perfect platform for growth and further acquisitions,” Sussman and Silver said in a statement.

More to come 

from Playback

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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