×

KKR Buys Universum Film, Continues to Build German Business

Days after buying Tele Munchen, private equity group KKR has made another major German move, acquiring producer and distributor Universum Film from RTL. KKR is creating a German-based content group and Universum becomes the second company to become part of the fledgling outfit.

Universum is a 40-year-old company that started out in home entertainment before moving into film distribution in Germany in the early 2000s, handling titles including “The Hateful 8,” “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” “The Little Ghost,” and “Vice.” It also majors in kids’ and anime content and runs a pair of SVOD services. In all, it has rights to 3,700 titles.

Bernhard zu Castell will remain CEO of Universum. “It’s great to be part of such an ambitious team and to contribute our strengths to building Germany’s largest independent content platform,” he said. “This will allow us to fully exploit the potential of Universum and take advantage of the great opportunities that this platform will bring.”

“I am proud that we have come one step closer to realizing our vision of creating something truly new and unique in the German entertainment industry,” said Philipp Freise, head of the European TMT team at KKR. “Universum ideally complements our platform, delivering tailor-made content to viewers through cinemas and homes.”

He added: “With Universum and TMG, the platform is already one of the best in the industry in many areas. We want to build on these strengths and drive its growth further.”

KKR’s new German operation is headed by German entertainment business veteran Fred Kogel. Former ProSiebenSat.1 exec Markus Frerker has also signed on and becomes COO.

More Film

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Sebastian Maniscalco Green Book

    Sebastian Maniscalco Moves Into Movies With 'Green Book' and 'The Irishman'

    As a comedian whose routines not only lampoon Italian stereotypes but demand larger-than-life performances of those cultural peccadilloes, Sebastian Maniscalco has carefully — if inadvertently — created a niche for himself as an actor. In 2018, in between selling out shows at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, he took his first steps [...]

  • Erin Westerman

    Lionsgate Promotes Erin Westerman to President of Motion Picture Production

    Lionsgate has promoted veteran executive Erin Westerman to the post of president of production of its Motion Picture Group. Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake and motion picture group president Nathan Kahane made the announcement Tuesday. The post has been vacant since earlier this year, when it was held as a co-presidency by Peter Kang [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content