German film and TV powerhouse Tele München Gruppe (TMG) has been bought by global investment firm KKR, the companies announced today. The acquisition will see industry vet Fred Kogel appointed as CEO.
TMG is one of Germany’s leading indie players with one of Europe’s largest film and TV libraries, its own production firms and stakes in TV channels TELE 5 and RTL II. Two years ago it launched its own streaming service, Filmtastic.
The company is one of Germany’s most active film buyers, putting out movies through label Concord. Recent releases include Destroyer, Hunter Killer and The House That Jack Built. Their TV slate includes anticipated drama The Name Of The Rose, starring John Turturro and Rupert Everett.
KKR says it now wants to “expand the independent market-leading platform of TMG and to refocus the company in times of digital disruption…With the shift in consumer preferences towards premium, local, but also international content, there is an ever-increasing need for the creation of a large independent German content platform.”
New CEO Kogel is a film and TV veteran who was previously head of entertainment at ZDF, managing director of Sat.1 and Kirch Media as well as CEO of Constantin Film AG and Constantin Medien AG. He takes over from Dr. Herbert G. Kloiber, former managing partner of TMG, who will remain an advisor to the firm.
The offer is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions but it is expected to close in April. KKR made its investment from its European Fund IV and financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Kogel said, “The market is changing rapidly and that creates chances for us to play an active role in shaping our industry. I am very delighted to have KKR, a strong partner with media experience, by my side to create a future-oriented content company and who sees the challenges of the market as an opportunity. Together, we will produce first-class local content and license and distribute international feature films as well as premium series. At the same time, we want to be the ‘go-to’-partner for top-class creatives, TV channels and digital platforms in Germany.”
Philipp Freise, KKR’s Head of the European Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry, said, “Thanks to Dr. Kloiber for the trust in us to further develop this great company. We are excited to partner with TMG to create something new in the film and TV business: a platform that covers the entire value chain from film set to cinema and TV and which we will build-out further through acquisitions. Hand in hand with experienced industry executives – first and foremost Fred Kogel, the new CEO of the platform – we will build a platform in the content market that will advance the German entertainment industry through creativity, innovative ideas, and passion.”
Kloiber added, “I am proud of what we have achieved at TMG in the past four decades. Following much deliberation, I have decided to place my life’s work into the hands of KKR and thus to ensure that TMG, with its wonderful employees, may continue to grow and succeed.”
New York-based investor KKR has holdings in multiple sectors, including infrastructure, energy and real estate. The company has worked with media companies including BMG, ProSiebenSat.1, Nielsen, and GetYourGuide.
“We have proven in the past that we can build up successful market leaders in the demanding media market: At BMG Rights Management, we have built one of the largest music publishers as a Joint Venture together with Bertelsmann from scratch and have strengthened its technological focus and international footprint,” said Freise.