×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam’s ON Kids & Family

Mediawan, a special-purpose acquisition company headed by media industry veterans Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton, is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam’s ON Kids & Family.

Under the deal, which is estimated in the €100 million ($117.4 million) range, Mediawan would inject €15 million in equity capital into ON Kids & Family, France’s No. 1 producer of animated series and one of Europe’s leading producers of big-budget independent animated features.

The indie banner has a track record in producing franchise-based films and series, notably Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince,” the Cesar- and BAFTA-winning feature which was released in more than 120 countries and grossed $120 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing French-made animated film overseas. ON Kids & Family’s “Playmobil” movie, budgeted at $80 million, is being directed by Lino Di Salvo (“Frozen,” “Raiponce”) and will be released in April 2019.

Mediawan would own 51% to 54% of ON Kids & Family. Soumache, who is ON Kids & Family group president, CEO and co-founder, would stay at the helm of the company and retain a 46%-to-49% share, along with the banner’s co-founder Rassam.

“As we’ve just seen with the Disney-Fox merger – the latest in a flurry of mergers – it has become crucial for independent companies to join forces in order to accelerate our growth, be competitive and deliver world-class content that will feed the increasing demand, notably from global services like Netflix or Amazon,” Soumache told Variety.

The French exec said he sees Capton, Pigasse and Niel as the ideal partners to join forces with because they each excel in their fields (telecom/tech innovation, financing and production) and “share our strategic vision, entrepreneurial spirit and international ambitions,” said Soumache.

Niel is the founder of Lliad, the company that operates France’s third-biggest telco group, Free, while Pigasse is the CEO of Lazard Banque and the founder of Les Nouvelles Editions Independantes, which owns Le Monde, Les Inrocks and Nova Radio. Capton owns Troisieme Oeil Productions, France’s No. 1 independent TV producer.

The deal with Mediawan would open a new chapter for ON Kids & Family. The outfit, which has about 500 employees across its offices in Paris, Montreal, Luxembourg, Los Angeles and India, will soon be expanding its footprint in China with the launch of an office and a potential deal with a Chinese operator. ON Kids & Family will also likely sign a pact with a streaming service to distribute its programs.

Through this strategic pact, Mediawan aims to become one of the world’s top independent players in animated content, leveraging ON Kids & Family’s library of brands and relationships with some of the largest international TV and film groups, including studios, indies, broadcasters, pay-TV channels and streaming services.

“This operation is a milestone that will enable us to significantly accelerate our development strategy in the production of premium content while marking our arrival on the buoyant animated films and series market, which represent strategic avenues of expansion for Mediawan for the coming years,” said Capton, Mediawan’s chairman.

He added that Soumache, Rassam and Thierry Pasquet, another ON Kids & Family shareholder, have “accomplished remarkable work in making ON Kids & Family a globally acclaimed animated content player.”

Earlier this year, Mediawan acquired French production company CC&C, Clarke Costelle & Co., the outfit behind the historical documentary franchise “Apocalypse,” which garnered record ratings on French public broadcaster France 2 and sold to more than 165 countries.

Back in January, Mediawan made its first acquisition with AB Groupe, a French production, channels and distribution player AB Groupe. The deal was estimated at €270 million.

More Film

  • Inside an Inox Leisure multiplex in

    India's Inox Multiplex Chain Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

    Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure has revealed ambitious plans to more than double its existing screen capacity of 600. The company is planning to add 900 more screens across the country over the next decade. “That’s the realistic answer, but my desire is to do it over the next five years,” Siddharth Jain, director, Inox [...]

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content