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The new shingle will be active in four European markets

PARIS– Two European powerhouses, Germany’s Senator Entertainment and France’s Wild Bunch are joining forces to launch an independent film distribution and production group.

The new shingle will be active in four European markets and will manage a library of around 2,200 films. Senator, which has just completed its financial restructuring, estimates the outfit will have consolidated revenues of more than 185 million Euros — based on 2013 figures.

The idea behind the venture is to grow into a global player thriving across all distribution channels.

The new company will also enable Wild Bunch to expand its pan-European presence. The Paris-based shingle already boasts leading direct distribution activities in France, Spain (via Vertigo) and Italy (via Bim) and has a solid track record in international sales, whose team is led by Vincent Maraval and Carole Barraton. Wild Bunch also has its own SVOD/VOD platform, FilmoTV.

Senator Entertainment will gain direct access to new digital marketing platforms, which is a key component of its strategic growth plan.

The group will be led by the existing management teams of Wild Bunch and Senator Entertainment: Wild Bunch founders Vincent Grimond as CEO, Brahim Chioua as COO, and Vincent Maraval as CCO, as well as Senator Entertainment Management board member Max Sturm as CFO.

“The new financially restructured Senator Entertainment – benefiting from the strong support of its key shareholder Sapinda and of its stock market listing in Germany — is a perfect partner for the next phase of our company’s development,” said Grimond.

Max Sturm added, “This is a major step in our strategic and financial restructuring process. As previously stated, one of our main goals for an even stronger Senator Entertainment is the internationalisation of our business. Combining with our cooperation partner Wild Bunch provides an excellent way to stabilise earnings and strengthen marketing power in a joint company. Together with the announced capital measures this business combination is key for a successful restructuring of Senator Entertainment.”

The business alliance is to be carried out via a capital increase, where all shares of Wild Bunch are contributed into Senator Entertainment. The joint venture is subject to approval by Senator Entertainment’s shareholders at an EGM on Sept.12.

Besides the pending approval of Senator Entertainment’s Supervisory Board, Senator Entertainment is obliged to successfully conclude its financial restructuring with the contribution of gross proceeds of around 16 million Euros in a cash capital increase and a debt-for-equity swap of up to 10 million Euros, hence reinforcing the company’s equity in the same amount.

“I am well aware that we demand a lot from our shareholders through the announced capital measures, but it is crucial for the financial recovery of Senator Entertainment. At the same time we provide a clear and strong growth perspective with the Wild Bunch business combination. Through this step we immediately achieve the company size necessary to strengthen our purchasing and market position. Hence, we create a unique and convincing multi-domestic and pan- European player, poised for growth in a promising evolving market”, concluded Sturm.

 

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