New York-based private equity group KKR has continued its remarkable German buying spree with the acquisition of leading local film producer Wiedemann & Berg, whose films include 2019 Oscar nominee Never Look Away and Oscar winner The Lives Of Others.
The pact marks the fourth German media company acquisition by KKR, which recently bought distributors Tele-Munchen Group and Universum as well as TV company i&u TV, and consolidates its position as a potent new player in the local market.
Wiedemann & Berg founders Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg will remain on board as managing directors and join the new media group as head of its feature film production division. The firm’s TV arm, W&B Television, a JV with EndemolShine, will continue to run in parallel.
Fred Kogel, CEO of the new, as-yet-unnamed media group, said the latest acquisition marks the end of a first wave of consolidation, “Our dream team is complete! I have known Max and Quirin for many years and admire them as producers and entrepreneurs. Few have mastered the art of filmmaking so well. Now, we will jointly realise national and international feature film productions and implement our idea of establishing an independent German media company, which has been based on a common concept from the very beginning.”
The independent German film studio now has a reach to cover production, licensing and distribution across film and TV.
Philipp Freise, Member and Head of the European Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry team at KKR, said, “We are very excited to successfully complete the first stage of our company development with Fred Kogel. Now, we will focus on combining the expertise and know-how of all four companies, Max’s & Quirin’s in particular, to create something truly innovative. Our goal has always been to build an entertainment house for audio-visual content, not just to buy individual companies.”