Gallic company moves into English-language drama

PARIS — Gaul’s Banijay Group has acquired a majority stake in Australian producer Screentime, including its New Zealand subsidiary and its distribution affiliate in Ireland.

Deal allows Banijay, already present in eight countries, to enter three important English-language territories and position itself within the scripted content market thanks to Screentime’s expertise in the production of upscale, long-running series, such as crimer “Underbelly.”

“We have been keen to extend our presence in English-speaking territories, but we knew that we needed to be patient and wait to make the right choice,” said Francois de Brugada, exec VP at Banijay Group. “We believe the alignment of both our cultures will ensure a seamless and successful integration.”

Screentime is also known for reality hit “Popstars,” which has been adapted in more than 50 countries and airs in more than 100. A new version of “Popstars” will be launched at this year’s Mipcom mart.

Distribution arm Banijay Intl. will rep Screentime’s catalog, while Screentime will gain access to Banijay’s portfolio of formats for local adaptation.

Screentime founders Bob Campbell and Des Monaghan will continue as exec chairman and managing director respectively, as will all other key execs.

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