French company Mediawan has acquired a majority stake in Palomar, the leading independent Italian production outfit behind the cop show “Inspector Montalbano” and the highly anticipated series “The Name of the Rose,” with John Turturro and Rupert Everett.
The deal marks the first international acquisition by Mediawan, the listed company launched in 2016 by three media industry veterans: Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton. Mediawan was formed as a special investment vehicle but has now become an integrated media group specializing in production and distribution for both film and TV.
Palomar is involved in film, TV series and documentaries. It will be attending the Berlin Film Festival with Claudio Giovannesi’s “La paranza dei bambini” (“Piranhas”), which is set to world premiere in competition.
Under the new deal, Mediawan becomes the majority shareholder of Palomar with a 72% stake, with the remaining 28% to be retained by Carlo Degli Esposti, Palomar’s founder and CEO. The agreement also sees Esposti and Nicola Serra, Palomar’s managing director, becoming shareholders of Mediawan with about 680,000 shares.
“Mediawan and Palomar share a common vision of the quality of production and the same ambition to develop internationally,” said Degli Esposti, who described Mediawan as a “pillar of the European audiovisual landscape.” Serra said Palomar would now be able to fast-track its international expansion thanks to the takeover by Mediawan.
Besides “The Name of the Rose,” Palomar’s current pipeline is packed with ambitious TV series aimed at the global market. These include the Italian remake of the hit French series “Call My Agent!”, as well as more seasons of the Western series “That Dirty Black Bag” and “Inspector Montalbano,” with a new co-producer on board.
Through the acquisition of Palomar, Mediawan will be looking to strengthen its relationships with Italian broadcasters and tap into the booming talent pool in Italy, a key market for original content creation, said Capton, Mediawan’s chairman.
Mediawan previously acquired the French producer-distributor AB Group, EuropaCorp’s French TV business and the French drama production companies Makever and Mon Voisin Productions (“Call My Agent!”); Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam’s ON Kids & Family (“The Little Prince”); and French production company Clarke Costelle & Co. (“Apocalypse: The Second World War”).
“Mediawan already ranks as France’s biggest producer of television fiction content and now has its eyes set on the international market,” said Capton, who is spearheading this acquisitions. He told Variety that the company would now “be focusing on establishing synergies, tapping into its production and distribution activities within Europe.”
“Mediawan will preserve the identity, brand and talents of Palomar,” said Capton, adding that Palomar will operate under Mediawan Originals, the division that groups together all production banners acquired by the French group. Under the agreement, the content produced by Palomar will also be sold internationally by Mediawan Rights (formerly AB Group), the company’s distribution division.