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Lagardere makes Merlin deal

Conglomerate acquires interest in company

French media conglomerate Lagardere has acquired a controlling interest in Merlin Prods.

The Paris-based production house is responsible for TV series such as “Baie ouest” and “Faites comme chez vous” on commercial channels TF1 and M6.

For pubcaster France 2 it has produced the miniseries “Un ete de canicule” and “La Prophetie d’Avignon” plus telefilm “Un Amour a taire.”

Merlin founders Pascal Fontanille and Francois Aramburu, who script as well as produce, will remain with the company.

“We had reached a plateau in our development,” said Fontanille. “An alliance with Lagardere Entertainment will allow us to grow more rapidly and take on more ambitious projects.”

Next up is telefilm “De feu et de glace,” a figure-skating drama helmed by Joyce Bunuel, staring Christophe Malavoy and singer Lorie. It airs on TF1 at the end of 2008.