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France’s Newen Acquires Canadian Outfit Reel One (EXCLUSIVE)

Newen, the Paris-based media company owned by TF1 Group, has acquired a majority stake in Reel One, a leading production and licensing company specializing in TV films for the North American and global markets.

Based in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One develops, finances, produces and sells TV films and series. The company, whose credits include the series “Detective McLean,” generates 90% of its revenue outside of Canada, Newen said.

Newen, the maker of costume drama series “Versailles,” is already well-positioned in French-speaking markets with production banners such as Capa Drama and Telfrance. It should benefit from Reel One’s high volume of English-language productions. This year, for instance, Reel One is expected to deliver more than 75 TV movies, including crime thrillers, romantic films and Christmas specials.

Reel One founder and CEO Tom Berry will continue to hold a minority stake in the group and will continue in his role as CEO.

Newen delivers 1,000 hours of programming per year and boasts a catalogue of more than 5,000 hours of programs internationally.

“With our strength in the English-language speaking world and Newen’s impressive portfolio of European scripted content, this is a truly complementary partnership,” said Berry.

Newen previously acquired Nimbus in Denmark, Tuvalu and Pupkin in the Netherlands, and De Mensen in Belgium. It also has a presence in Canada through the animation company BlueSpirit.

Bibiane Godfroid, CEO of Newen, said that “numerous synergies are possible with the group’s companies, and we look forward to developing them with Tom Berry and his teams.”

Reel One is currently working in Britain on an adaptation of “Team Chocolate,” the award-winning drama series produced by De Mensen, and in the U.S. on an adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novella “Second Variety.”

“After Pupkin, Nimbus and De Mensen, the acquisition of Reel One will help to diversify and strengthen our model, notably in English-speaking territories – North America as well as the U.K.,” said Romain Bessi, Newen’s managing director.

Bessi also noted that Reel One “has the advantage of being capable of producing quality content with limited budgets, notably thanks to production subsidies in Canada, and has relationships with all the big free-to-air channels in key markets.”

Reel One’s volumes have experienced double-digit growth recently. The company will now have access to Newen’s vast library of content for remake opportunities.

Bessi said the company would be looking at further opportunities to expand, possibly in Southern European markets such as Spain and Italy.

Newen’s acquisition of Reel One is subject to approval by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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