Major pan-European distributor Wild Bunch and Germany indie bigwig Senator Entertainment have agreed to combine their businesses. The resulting company will be a top European film distributor and producer with a library of about 2,200 films and consolidated revenues of more than $250 million (based on 2013 figures). The existing management teams will take over the operational leadership of the group, with Wild Bunch’s Chairman and CEO Vincent Grimond becoming CEO, Brahim Chioua as COO, Vincent Maraval as Chief Content Officer, and Senator’s Max Sturm as CFO.
The two companies have a common history, teaming on the joint-venture operation Central Film Verleih to movie acquisitions (The King’s Speech, The Reader) and cooperation in video and TV sales. Senator is just completing a financial restructuring. The tie-up will bolster both sides’ digital efforts, and it will be active in four major territories: Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
“The new financially restructured Senator Entertainment benefiting from the strong support of its key shareholder Sapinda and of its stock market listing in Germany, is a perfect partner for the next phase of our company’s development,” Grimond said in the release announcing the deal.
Added Sturm: “This is a major step in our strategic and financial restructuring process. As previously stated, one of our main goals for an even stronger Senator Entertainment is the internationalization of our business. Combining with our cooperation partner Wild Bunch provides an excellent way to stabilize earnings and strengthen marketing power in a joint company.”
The company said the combination will be carried out via a capital increase against contribution in kind, where all shares of Wild Bunch are contributed into Senator Entertainment. The plan will be put to vote along with recapitalization measures at a Senator extraordinary general meeting September 12. Senator must also wrap up its financial restructuring with a cash capital increase of €16 million and a debt-for-equity swap of up to €10 million.
Senator is being advised by Anoa Capital and Wild Bunch by Bryan Garnier.