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Fremantle buys Random House Studio

FremantleMedia’s US division has bought Random House Studio, formerly the TV and film unit of publisher Penguin Random House.

Craig CegielskiFremantle has simultaneusly inked a deal with China’s Meridian Entertainment, which will see the latter work up the Random House Studio theatrical slate. Fremantle, meanwhile, will oversee all TV properties coming out of the unit, which Peter Gethers runs as president.

Fremantle said the deal will give it greater access to authors and their work with a view to TV and film adaptations.

Penguin Random House is 53% owned by Random House owner Bertelsmann, which also owns FremantleMedia and RTL Group, and 47% by Pearson, which has previously held stakes in RTL and Thames Television (now part of FremantleMedia).

Craig Cegielski, co-CEO, FremantleMedia North America (pictured), said: “Peter Gethers and the entire team at Random House Studio are literary visionaries, and the adroit Jennifer Dong and her team at Meridian have built a vibrant company that is well-positioned globally.

“Our collective ambitions enable us to further harness the voice of the authors, engaging them in all stages of their adaptation and bringing their vision to every media platform worldwide.”

Random House Studio has deals with Jupiter Entertainment in unscripted TV for shows including No God But God, originally from author Reza Aslan; The Knowledge, based on the book by Lewis Dartnell, and God Made Me Do It, which is being developed with the author Jonathan Merritt.

Meridian’s founder and chairman Dong said: “This partnership is a breakthrough for Meridian’s global strategy and marks a milestone in our international expansion.

“Meridian has the determination, strength and ability to make full use of the rich and varied content that FremantleMedia and Random House Studio can provide and we will also explore the great potential of the vast Chinese market for our new partners.”

The deal is the latest in a spate of investments in production entities FremantleMedia has made under group CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz.