Blue Ant Media has sold a majority stake of its New Zealand-based production company NHNZ to producer Dame Julie Christie.
The new partnership will see the factual and natural history prodco rebranded as NHNZ Worldwide with Christie (pictured) assuming the role of CEO. The company will continue to operate out of Dunedin, New Zealand.
Blue Ant will hold a “significant minority stake” in the company and continue to own its existing catalogue of unscripted series and documentaries, while NHNZ Worldwide will hold rights to any new content it produces. Meanwhile, Sam Sniderman, co-president, global content production at Blue Ant Media, has a seat on NHNZ Worldwide’s board of directors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
NHNZ first came under the Blue Ant umbrella in 2017 when the Canadian broadcaster, producer and distributor acquired The Racat Group. NHNZ was among a number of international media companies owned by Racat at the time, including Singapore’s Beach House Pictures and Australia’s Northern Pictures. The company, which has been in operation since the 1970s, has produced series such as Orangutan Jungle School and Wildlife Rescue New Zealand.
Christie will expand the company’s production slate outside of natural history and documentaries, according to a statement from the new CEO.
“Dame Julie is not only an internationally successful unscripted television producer, but also an established and influential leader in New Zealand in both the public and private spheres,” said Sniderman, in a statement. “Her expertise and business acumen will serve NHNZ Worldwide well as she builds upon the production company’s 40 year legacy and paves the way to future growth.”
The deal is the latest in a series of shuffles to Blue Ant Media’s assets. The company sold its gaming network Omnia Media to esports company Enthusiast Gaming in August 2020, taking a minority stake in Enthusiast and a seat on the board of directors. Blue Ant sold a portion of its stake in Enthusiast in early 2021 for $16.2 million to rebalance its portfolio, according to co-founder and CEO Michael MacMillan.
The company has also continued to purchase new assets, acquiring Canadian tech news site MobileSyrup in October 2020.
From Playback’s Kelly Townsend