Pact allows Courbit to expand into Germany

Pan-European TV shingle Banijay Entertainment has bought a 50% stake in Germany’s Brainpool TV. Price was not disclosed.

Cologne-based Brainpool will continue to be run by Stefan Raab and fellow shareholders Jorg Grabosch, Ralf Gunther and Andreas Scheurmann.

The buy gives Banijay a one-stop major presence in Teuton TV and a partnership with one of its most charismatic stars — Raab.

A talent-driven concern, Brainpool groups 16 companies ranging from light entertainment and fiction production houses to interactive and facility companies and joint production ventures for performers such as Anke Engelke and Bastian Pastewka.

Its hits include Raab’s latenight yakker “TV Total” and the primetime “Schlag den Raab” (Beat the Host), both on ProSieben, where Raab takes on members of the public or celebs at bizarre challenges.

Brainpool also produces struggling-actor sitcom “Pastewka,” starring Pastewka, and “Lady Cracker,” a comedy sketch vehicle for Engelke.

Banijay will twin Brainpool’s Teuton talent with Banijay formats, either created inhouse, bought by its acquisitions department or sourced from its international partners and subsids.

But the relationship is a two-way street, Banijay CEO Guillaume de Verges stressed.

“Brainpool has been successful in diversification — selling tickets for standup comedy shows, creating DVDs and launching a hit comedy website. All these initiatives could travel to other territories.”

“Beat the Host” has sold to multiple territories, including a pickup from British commercial broadcaster ITV.

Launched by former Endemol France boss Stephan Courbit in 2008, Paris-based Banijay operates in France, Spain, Russia and Germany and owns or partners in seven companies.

The company has a E250 million ($353.2 million) investment kitty. It’s backed by Courbit’s family investment arm Financiere Lov, France’s Arnault Group, Agnelli family investment arm Ifil and DeA Capital, a private equity vehicle of the De Agostini family.

(Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.)

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