Studiocanal buys Tandem

Productions include 'Pillars of the Earth'

Pan-European film group Studiocanal is continuing its European expansion by taking a majority stake in Tandem Communications, one of the region’s leading producers and distributors of international event TV shows.

Munich-based Tandem will continue to develop and produce programming and will also handle international sales of its content as well as third-party productions.

Established in 1999 by Canadian Rola Bauer, one-time prexy of Alliance Intl. in Paris, and American Tim Halkin, a former marketing exec at Disney, Tandem focuses on English-language productions and bestseller adaptations with high production values.

Recent and current productions include the Ken Follett TV miniseries adaptation, “The Pillars of the Earth,” and this year’s follow-up “World Without End,” both of which were produced with Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free, one of Tandem’s regular partners.

Bauer, Halkin and fellow managing director Jonas Bauer will remain shareholders and continue to lead Tandem.

“Studiocanal’s longterm strategy is industrial not just financial, and is to create a European studio,” Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson told Variety.

Having put into place its multi-territory film distribution deals for U.K. and Germany, and built up its international film production, Studiocanal’s “next logical step is to create a kind of TV division,” Courson added.

Describing the deal as a “strategic partnership,” Rola Bauer said the pact would allow Tandem to expand and “move a little faster” on series financing.

Though Studiocanal is owned by France’s Canal Plus Group, the pay TV giant would not have an automatic first option on rights from Tandem, Bauer added.

Other upcoming Tandem productions include “Labyrinth,” a two-parter based on Kate Mosse’s bestseller, produced by Scott Free.

After an €150 million ($192 million) slate financing deal with Anton Capital Entertainment announced in September, Studiocanal’s film financing capacity runs at about $800 million through 2014, the biggest of any company in Europe.

Among movies Studiocanal is involved with are the Coen brothers’ Scott Rudin-produced “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Eli Roth-produced “The Last Exorcism 2,” Joel Silver’s “The Last Photograph,” with Sean Penn and Christian Bale, and Stefan Ruzowitzky’s “Blackbird,” with 2929 and Mutual Film.