The price, at £550M is less than All3Media‘s majority shareholder Permira originally wanted. But the deal puts the UK production company in the hands of two formidable global TV providers who have created a joint venture for the purchase and vowed to let All3Media remain a stand-alone entity. Discovery and Liberty Global “come with a long-term view of the importance of building a leading global content company and appreciate All3Media’s distinctive philosophy of creative freedom and diversity,” says All3Media Chairman Steve Morrison. The partnership will help his company “to expand further through multiple avenues of growth around the world, including in the U.S. market, which has been a driver for our business for the past several years.”
It’s the latest addition to a new breed of company that some refer to as “mega indies.” This also is a big step for Discovery and Liberty’s international expansion — endorsed by John Malone, who controls nearly 28% of the votes at Liberty Global and 29% at Discovery. Liberty bought Virgin Media in 2013 and earlier this year agreed to pay $9.4B in cash and stock for Dutch cable operator Ziggo. In January, Discovery fast-tracked its acquisition of a controlling stake in Pan-European platform Eurosport, and last year bought the SBS Nordic operations of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1. The move also lays to rest long percolating rumors that FremantleMedia was poised to acquire All3Media.
Here’s today’s release: (more…)