Production giant Banijay goes public – Digital TV Europe

Banijay will become a public company after owner Stéphane Courbit unveiled a plan to roll the Chef and Big brother production equipment into a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

The France-based company, which owns more than 120 labels in 20 countries, is transferring to FL Entertainment, which will also house Courbit’s online gaming company, Betclic.

FL Entertainment merges with SPAC Pegasus Entrepreneurs, which was backed by European investment firm Tikehau Capital and Financière Agache.

Banijay’s new owner, which will retain its FL Entertainment name, is backed by existing investors in the production group, including Bernard Arnault and Canal+ owner Vincent Bolloré, with the company valued at 4.1 billion euros (4 .3 billion) without debt.


The shares will begin trading in July on the Dutch Euronext index, with the new entity also receiving around €600 million in new investment. This means that Vivendi will own 20% of the shares, with the Monaco-based Société des Bains de Mer holding 10% and Fimalac with 7%.

Timeline and transaction

The agreement is coming in less than two years since Courbit completed the acquisition of Endemol Shine Group for $2.2 billionwhich left Banijay with large debts.

Banijay then belonged to the French duo LDH (67.1%) and Vivendi de Bolloré (32.9%). LDH is a holding company controlled by Financière LOV (52%), the investment company controlled by Courbit. The Italian group De Agostini (36%) and the French financial group Fimalac are also investors in LOV and now in FL Entertainment.

The listing will allow Courbit to refinance these debts, with investors able to buy into Banijay’s huge production and distribution operation that range from US-based Bunim/Murray Productions and Endemol Shine North America, to Tiger Aspect based in the UK, Cuarzo Producciones and Mastiff in Spain. in the Nordic countries.

The company, which had nearly $3 million in sales last year and an EBITDA of approximately $450 million, also operates the Banijay Rights and Emissions Control business arm ranging from Survivor and chase for Rogue heroes, black mirror and Mister Bean.

Hunted (UK)

Courbit, chairman of FL Entertainment – which is controlled by his company Financière LOV and Francois Riahi – described the move as “an important step”. He added: “Through the transaction, the group will benefit from a strong balance sheet and will be very well positioned to capture the growth of the entertainment industry.”

Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti said the deal has “created new opportunities for Banijay to grow and maintain” its market position.

History and context

Banijay was founded by Courbit through his LOV group, along with Italian conglomerate De Agostini. The production and distribution company has acquired numerous companies in recent years, including Zodiak Media in 2016always with the help of the French media giant Vivendi.

Three years later, he struck a deal to buy ESG, which had been formed five years ago when Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group, owned by 21st Century Fox, was combined with format giant Endemol and its American counterpart Core Media. The latter two were both owned by investment firm Apollo Global Management.

Core was then spun off, eventually becoming a lean producer after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Disney took over 50% stake in ESG after acquiring a series of entertainment assets from Fox in 2019, Banijay officially closing its acquisition of EndemolShine a year later.

Mary I. Bruner