Securing clearance in Europe is the biggest antitrust hurdle Banijay needs to overcome to complete the acquisition from Disney and Apollo Global Management, creating the largest independent production group in the world.
Banijay has always maintained that it is confident of getting the mega-deal past regulators, and June 30 will be a key date in realizing this ambition. Banijay had originally hoped that antitrust proceedings could be wrapped up in six months, but it is now eight months since the deal was first announced last October.
The European Commission will decide whether to prohibit or approve the takeover, but it is not the final stage of the competition proceedings. If it blocks the deal, it could propose remedies that could eventually lead to a green light, while an approval may be contingent on voluntary commitments made by Banijay and Endemol to assuage competition concerns.
The official European Commission notice for the takeover states that French holding company Lov Group will have have “sole control” over Banijay and Endemol Shine. Lov will control the combined entity, while French media conglomerate Vivendi, De Agostini and Fimalac are the other main shareholders.
Banijay and Endemol Shine have been operating independently since the takeover was announced. Perhaps the most notable link between the two companies since then was former Endemol Shine International boss Cathy Payne being confirmed as the CEO of Banijay Rights in April.
There has been some industry speculation that Banijay assessed whether to proceed with the deal following the coronavirus crisis, which has shut down production and damaged revenues. But Banijay Group COO Peter Langenberg told Deadline last month that the takeover remains “on track.”
Banijay and Endemol Shine will have combined revenues of €3BN ($3.4BN), and it puts Banijay in control of 200 production labels and global brands including MasterChef, Big Brother, and Survivor.