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DeAgostini says new TV unit will double profit in three years

Italian media company DeAgostini has created an umbrella brand, Zodiak Entertainment, for its production and distribution activities and says the entity will double revenues to €1 billion within three years.

Unveiling the new unit at a London press conference, DeAgostini CEO Lorenzo Pellicioli said that the company has a significant war chest for acquisitions and is looking to buy content-owning companies, specifically in the US and UK.

Having acquired Marathon and Zodiak, DeAgostini already owns a raft of TV production companies that were part of these groups, including Bullseye, Diverse, Jarowskij and Yellow Bird. It also owns Italian producer Magnolia and across the group the catalog stretches to 5,000 hours.

The new group will divide distribution activities across two bases, one in London where Zodiak’s sales operation is already headquartered and one in Paris, where Marathon is based. The French base is expected to handle distribution of scripted programming and the London based unscripted.

DeAgostoni is attempting to build an "international leading brand in the production of creative entertainment content for television and new media," Pellicioli said. Once established the idea is to float the company while remaining the controlling shareholder, as DeAgostini has done with various other offshoots, he added.

A key tenet of Zodiak Entertainment’s strategy is acquiring producers in the UK, US and, unspecified, high-growth markets. DeAgostini is also a major shareholder in Spanish free-to-air broadcaster Antena3, but Pellicioli said the company’s attention in the TV sector is now firmly focused on production and distribution.