Entertainment One, which listed on London’s junior exchange the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2007 but is now part of the FTSE 250, will now create an independent studio joint venture producing and financing “premium television and film content” for US networks and international distribution.
The deal, worth $132.6m, is being satisfied though combination of cash and shares and features an option to purchase the remaining 49 per cent share after an initial seven-year period.
Having been set up in 1987 by Mark Gordon, the newly-acquired business has produced content including television shows Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds as well as films such as Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot. It is also responsible for the forthcoming biopic on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Entertainment One CEO Darren Throop said: “The Mark Gordon Company creates first-class content that has been entertaining audiences around the world for many years and is the first significant acquisition for eOne since the launch of our new strategy to partner with the world leading creative talent to bring the best content to the world.
“The business will continue to operate as it does today and we are delighted to welcome MGC into the wider eOne family.”
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Entertainment One was initially founded by Vito Ierullo and Don Ierullo in Canada in 1973 to focus on retail sales of recorded music. A private equity takeover in 2007 by UK-based Marwyn Investment Management saw it list on AIM, a London listing it has subsequently used to finance a number of acquisitions. In the last two years Entertainment One has closed prominent deals including those for Alliance Films, Phase 4 Films and Force Four Entertainment.
According to a statement, Entertainment One has also secured The Mark Gordon Company’s existing television and film library alongside its future pipeline. New content will be distributed via the joint venture.
Gordon, founder of the business, commented: “There is a voracious appetite for premium original content worldwide. In order to realise the true value of our content, retention of right ownership and control of international distribution are absolute musts.
“In eOne, we have found a partner that focuses on the creative, is deeply immersed in the international market and has great ambitions in the US that will keep our business booming over the next many years. We’re building an alternative to the traditional studio way.”
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