Television Business International

Lagardere Studios buys Aito

Ilkka HynninenLagardere Studios has acquired a majority stake in Finnish formats producer Aito Media Group.

The deal comes after France’s Lagardere bought Spanish drama producer Boomerang TV in 2015.

While Aito is best known for factual entertainment shows such as Finland’s Smartest Person, The Redneck Auction and The Night Patrol, it has also moved into scripted and aroundf a dozen shows in development.

Lagardere Studios Distribution will now handle international distribution of Aito’s programming catalogue, which comprises more than 50 shows.

Kew Media Group bought 50% of Aito in 2013, a decade after Ilkka Hynninen and Eero Hietala founded the business, which now comprises subsidiaries Aito Media, Aito Tehdas and Aito&Haapasalo.

Lagardere Studios, which has production operations in Europe and Africa, is part of Lagardere Active. “To take Lagardère Studios from leading French producer to major player on the European audiovisual scene is our goal – Christophe Thoral’s and mine, with Arnaud Lagardère’s endorsement,” said Denis Olivennes, CEO of Lagardère Active.

“After the purchase of Grupo Boomerang TV in Spain, the acquisition of Aito Media Group is a new step in carrying out this international development strategy.”

“Lagardère Studios is boosting its international presence in northern Europe, a region particularly dynamic and innovative in audiovisual production,” added Christophe Thoral, CEO of Lagardère Studios.

Hynninen and Hietala said the deal “marks an important step in the development of Aito Media Group, and is an endorsement of all the work we have done over the years in the Finnish market. We can now count on Lagardère Studios to offer brand new content to our partners in Finland, more rapidly develop our expertise in scripted entertainment, and distribute our products worldwide”.