Paris-headquartered Banijay Group is on the brink of a deal to acquire global producer/distributor Endemol Shine Group, the company behind Big Brother and Black Mirror, according to multiple reports.
Sources close to the negotiations, speaking to UK newspapers The Daily Telegraph (the first to break the story) and Financial Times, suggest that a deal will likely be reached within days, possibly as soon as Thursday, when a meeting is scheduled between Banijay and Endemol Shine owners Disney and Apollo Global Management, says Variety.
Even though the sale saga has been in the headlines over the past 18 months, talk of an imminent deal was still buzzing around the Croisette during MIPCOM last week, with several sources telling Realscreen that Banijay was close to closing the deal. The reports emerging today (Oct. 22) state that the price tag for Endemol Shine is now hovering at the $2.2 billion mark, as opposed to earlier in the process when the company was expected to be valued at a range between $2.5 billion and $4 billion, including debt.
Banijay and Endemol Shine, when reached by Realscreen this morning, both declined to comment.
Speculation that Banijay would make a bid began late last year after UK-headquartered ITV announced it was ruling out a bid for Endemol Shine, following reports to the contrary.
Banijay Group CEO Marco Bassetti (pictured) has deep ties with Endemol, having served as COO, group president, and interim CEO, as well as founding executive of Endemol Italy prior to coming to Banijay in 2013. His brother, Paolo Bassetti, was appointed to the CEO position for Banijay’s Italian division last year, following his run as Endemol Shine Italy’s CEO and chairman, and as a member of ESG’s international board. And importantly, Banijay Group founder and chairman Stéphane Courbit also served as president of Endemol France, following Endemol’s acquisition of his Arthur Stéphane Productions in the late 1990s.
Bassetti and Banijay chairman Stéphane Courbit and Banijay France CEO François de Brugada delivered a keynote at MIPTV in Cannes last April, where they discussed the company’s rapid expansion and acquisitions, which have included acquiring French prodcos and then moving into other European territories such as Spain and Germany. In 2016, the company merged with another global production/distribution giant, Zodiak Media — which transformed the newly-formed Banijay Group into one of the world’s largest independent content producers and distributors. Then, in 2017, the company dug deep into its pockets once more for the acquisition of Castaway Television Productions, creator of global format phenomenon Survivor.
(With files from Barry Walsh)