Banijay Group and Zodiak Media have completed their planned merger.
The new producer-distributor entity will operate under the name Banijay Group, which is 73.8% controlled by Banjiay founder Stéphane Courbit’s LOV Group (50.1%) and DeA Communications, a company owned by Zodiak shareholder De Agostini Group.
Canal Plus and Universal Music Group parent Vivendi have acquired the remaining 26.2% stake.
Courbit will serve as chairman and former Zodiak CEO Marco Bassetti will serve as CEO of the merged company.
Former Banijay Entertainment CFO Sophie Kurinckx has been promoted to CFO of the new company and the merged distribution operations will be headed by Zodiak Rights CEO Tim Mutimer. The distribution arm will keep the name Zodiak Rights. Frédérique Sauvage has been appointed as Banijay Group’s general counsel.
With around US$1 billion in revenues, Banijay Group is one of the biggest independent production companies and the largest not controlled by a media group. The two companies entered into merger talks last spring.
The new company has operations in 17 territories including the U.S., UK, Italy, Sweden and Russia. Production companies now under the Banijay Group umbrella include Bunim/Murray Productions, Stephen David Entertainment, RDF Television, IWC Media, Nordisk Film TV Denmark and Norway and Adventure Line Productions.
“I am very pleased to confirm the merger of two such successful and innovative companies,” Courbit said in a statement. “I have every confidence that this strong group of managers and creative talent will thrive on the global stage. It is my pleasure to welcome Vivendi to our new Group and we look forward to a prosperous future together.”
The merger follows the 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.