Country Focus: France
Senator Entertainment and Wild Bunch plan to merge
by Birgit Heidsiek
- Berlin-based Senator Entertainment AG has announced its plan to merge with the European distributor Wild Bunch in order to become a major independent player for distribution and production in Europe. The new group plans to be active on the French, German, Italian and Spanish markets, and will strengthen its position in Germany. With this decision, Senator Entertainment is following its strategy to become more international and aims to grow if the financial restructuring process works out successfully.
The merger requires an increase in Senator Entertainment’s real capital. This measure will be suggested to the stockholders at the extraordinary general assembly on 12 September. The basic plan is to issue 55,827,788 new Senator stocks in order for it to become a shareholder of Wild Bunch. This means that the total number of Senator’s stocks will add up to 74.5 million. Already in late April, Senator announced several measures in order to raise fresh capital. “I am aware that we are asking a lot of our stockholders,” says Max Sturm, chairman of Senator Entertainment, “but this is in important step for our strategic and financial restructuring. These measures are indispensable for the financial consolidation of Senator Entertainment.”
If the merger between Senator Entertainment and Wild Bunch goes ahead, the new venture will include a library with 2,200 titles and sales revenues of more than €185 million. As a leading European distributor and producer, the group wants to exploit films internationally via all available channels.
With a library of 1,800 titles and distribution outlets in France (Wild Bunch Distribution and Wild Side Video), Germany (Wild Bunch Germany/Central Film), Italy (BiM Distribuzione) and Spain (Vértigo), Wild Bunch has already built up a wide-ranging European network. In France, Wild Bunch also runs the VoD/SVoD platform FilmoTV.
“The financially restructured Senator Entertainment will be the perfect partner for Wild Bunch for the next phase of the development of our company,” states Vincent Grimond, chairman and CEO of Wild Bunch. The Wild Bunch founder is set to be the new chief executive officer of the Wild Bunch/Senator Entertainment group. Further members of the management team will be Vincent Maraval (chief content officer) and Senator chairman Sturm as chief financial officer.