France’s Mediawan, Germany’s Leonine Merge to Form Euro Mini-Major

France’s Mediawan, Germany’s Leonine Merge to Form Euro Mini-Major

French studio Mediawan and Germany’s Leonine have signed a deal to merge their operation, forming one of Europe’s biggest film and TV companies.

The all-stock transaction, announced Sunday, will create a mini-major with companies and operations across 13 countries and annual revenues of more than €1 billion ($1.06 billion). Mediawan took a 25 percent stake in Leonine back in 2020. Both companies are backed by private equity group KKR. The agreement is conditional on regulatory approval.

Mediawan boss Pierre-Antoine Capton will be CEO of the new, merged group, with Leonine head Fred Kogel leading operations in German-speaking territories. Kogel will also join Mediawan’s executive committee.

Both Mediawan, launched in 2015 by Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, and Leonine, which Kogel founded in 2019, have followed similar strategies of tapping private equity funding to buy up independent production and distribution companies in Europe. Among the titles produced by Mediawan-owned labels include Netflix hit Call My Agent, kids series Miraculous Ladybug and Bob Marley: One Love. Leonine subsidiaries include distribution outfits TMG and Universum Film and Dark producers W&B Television. The group is the leading independent theatrical distributor in Germany-speaking Europe, with rights to such features as Knives Out, Hunger Games – The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes, and the John Wick franchise.

“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,” said Capton in a statement. “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 said the merger was “the next step” in creating “a pan-European powerhouse.”

Philipp Freise, co-head of European Private Equity at KKR said the company looked forward “to continuing to work closely with Pierre-Antoine Capton and Fred Kogel as Mediawan enters the next phase in its impressive growth trajectory.”

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