news 1 month ago

Sophie Turner Laing Steps Down From Endemol Shine After Banijay Takeover

Variety — Elsa Keslassy

Sophie Turner Laing, the CEO of Endemol Shine Group, is stepping down from her role following the takeover by Banijay which received anti-trust clearance from the European Commission earlier this week.

The combined group will be led by Marco Bassetti, the CEO of Banijay Group. Turner Laing’s final day will be July 10.

“This deal bookmarks a creatively rich, commercially successful and relentlessly prolific five and a half years as Endemol Shine Group. It has been a real privilege and honour to lead such a talented and dynamic group of people, each of whom has played their part in, and should be proud of, our many collective successes over this time,” said Turner Laing.

“As the start of an exciting new chapter in the company’s story, it is also the appropriate time for me to step down as CEO, and I wish Marco and his team the very best for the future,” added Turner Laing.

Bassetti said “the close of this unique deal represents the joining of two businesses built on entrepreneurialism, creativity and people… Aligned in thinking, and approach, we now stand together as the world’s largest international content creation and distribution group.”

Boasting 200 entities across 22 countries and a library of 88,000 hours, the French-headquartered group will be the largest non-U.S. content producer and distributor. The group’s well-established banners include Kudos, Filmlance (“Caliphate,” pictured), Rubicon (“Beforeigners”) and Diagonal (“Cathedral of the Sea”) on the Endemol Shine side. Flagship Banijay titles include “Versailles,” “The Inbetweeners” and “Survivor,” while Endemol Shine has “Big Brother,” “MasterChef,” “Black Mirror” and “Peaky Blinders.”

The combined group will be held by LDH (67.1%), which comprises Financière LOV, De Agostini and Fimalac, the investment company of Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, and French media giant Vivendi (32.9%).

The $2.2 billion pact is one of the indie content world’s first major M&A deals to be completed in Europe since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The antitrust ruling said Lov Group will have exclusive control over the combined entity, and said the “acquisition did not raise any antitrust problem considering the presence of a sufficient number of alternative companies which have content portfolios that are similar in the concerned countries.”

However, Banijay’s purchase of Endemol Shine does involve an extensive duplication of assets. A source familiar with the deal said “Banijay is planning to save €60 million ($67 million) in synergies through staff cuts and optimization of acquisitions.”

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