Paris-based Banijay Entertainment has ramped up its North American presence considerably by acquiring Los Angeles-based Bunim/Murray Productions, producers of MTV institution The Real World and several other reality hits. BMP founder Jonathan Murray (featured in this video interview from the 2010 Realscreen Summit) will remain as chairman and will continue to head up creative development, and president Gil Goldschein will continue to oversee corporate initiatives and tactical growth. The company will also remain in Los Angeles and retain its name. ‘Bunim-Murray is one of the few companies with a proven history of delivering high volumes of entertaining and quality programming that strikes a chord with viewers and are continually renewed by networks season after season,’ said Banijay Chairman Stéphane Courbit. ‘This acquisition reaffirms Banijay’s strategy to integrate in our group the best and most creative international television producers.’
In a previous interview with realscreen, Banijay CEO Guillaume de Verges said that the company was actively having discussions with American companies, having one under its umbrella already in the form of Angel City Factory. ‘We are looking for creative partners whose formats are able to be exported and adapted in the whole world, and who are willing to be involved in a globally-oriented group,’ he said.
That seems to describe what Bunim/Murray was looking for as well. Last year, rumors were circulating about the company being acquired by Talpa Media for a price somewhere between $50 million and $70 million, but those whisperings evaporated by year’s end. ‘By joining Banijay, BMP will be able to continue its past success as well as access international formats and distribute its series and formats to the international marketplace,’ said Murray. ‘I’ve spent the last year and a half getting to know Stéphane Courbit and his Banijay team and am convinced they are not only good people but the best people to help BMP reach its goals.’ The acquisition, still subject to approvals and filings, is expected to be completed in the near future.