Advanced Television

Mediawan merges with Leonine Studios

April 29, 2024

Mediawan and Leonine Studios have announced the signing of a definitive agreement for Leonine to merge with Mediawan in an all-stock transaction. The combination aims to foster closer collaboration between the businesses, and establish Mediawan as a premier studio with a global presence across 13 countries, 85 labels, a catalogue of some 30,000 hours of content and revenue exceeding €1 billion.

Mediawan and Leonine first partnered in 2020 when Mediawan acquired a c. 25 per cent stake in Leonine, resulting in successful cooperation between the two companies since.

Mediawan says the transaction will allows it to complete its European footprint with the addition of the German-speaking region, the second largest market in Europe for audiovisual content. Furthermore, the combination will further deepen Mediawan’s scripted content production with the addition of the production labels of Leonine to Mediawan’s network of international producers coordinated by Elizabeth d’Arvieu, CEO of Mediawan Pictures. In addition, Leonine will diversify Mediawan’s operations across geographies, customers and business segments.

Leonine was founded in 2019 by Fred Kogel and his management team with financial support from KKR and Atwater Capital1 through acquiring and merging TMG, Universum Film, i&u TV and Wiedemann & Berg Film, followed by W&B Television, SEO Entertainment, hyperbole, Beetz Brothers Film Production and Toon2Tango. The company has produced and co-produced titles such as The Lives of Others, School of Magical Animals, Dark, Crooks, The Cleaners and more, and owns rights to blockbuster titles such as the John Wick-Franchise, Hunger Games – The Ballad Of Songbirds (pictured) and Snakes, Knives Out, Everything, Everywhere All At Once and The Zone of Interest.

Mediawan’s presence now spans 13 countries including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Benelux, and the UK in Europe, alongside operations in Africa, Asia, and the US. It is the creative engine and producer behind some of the world’s most iconic IPs, including Call My Agent, Miraculous Ladybug, Rhythm and Flow France, 3 Body Problem, The Agency, Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story, One Day and Bob Marley: One Love.

With the direction of Pierre-Antoine Capton as group CEO, Kogel will lead operations in the German-speaking regions alongside the existing Leonine management team, and will join Mediawan’s executive committee. Mediawan is controlled by its co-founders Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse.

Capton said: “With the addition of Leonine Studios, we have achieved an important milestone in Mediawan’s strategy to create a pan-European studio with a strong presence in all key markets. I am delighted to welcome Fred Kogel and the entire Leonine team who have built a leading independent studio over the years – together, we will become an even more attractive platform for creative talent and strengthen our position as a leading studio for premium content across all genres.”

Kogel added: “Within five years we have built the leading integrated independent media group in the German-speaking region and a home to some of the best talent in the industry. This is a testimony to the hard work and commitment of all Leonine employees over the years. Our combination with Mediawan to create a pan-European powerhouse is the next step and will bring exciting benefits to our valued partners and customers in Germany, the US and beyond. I look forward to executing on our ambitious growth strategy alongside Mediawan, Leonine’s great management team and our dedicated employees”.

Philipp Freise, Co-Head of European Private Equity at KKR, noted: “It has been an absolute pleasure backing Pierre-Antoine Capton and Fred Kogel in building two of Europe’s independent audiovisual content powerhouses. KKR’s investments in Mediawan and Leonine follow a long history of investing behind exceptional entrepreneurs in talent- and IP-centred businesses. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Pierre-Antoine Capton and Fred Kogel as Mediawan enters the next phase in its impressive growth trajectory.”

Completion of the transaction remains subject to obtaining antitrust clearance from the competent authorities in Germany and Austria.

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