Endemol acquires Southern Star

Formats giant Endemol has acquired Australian producer/distributor Southern Star.

Endemol acquired 100% of the company from Australian media group Fairfax Media for A$75 million (US$50 million). This move helps Endemol bolster its scripted programming business adding Southern Star’s 14,000 hours of drama series and kids content.

Southern Star has been for sale since September when Fairfax Media announced it was exploring its options. FremantleMedia and BBC Worldwide were also reportedly interested in acquiring the company.

The deal includes Southern Star International, which distributes series including Home and Away, Wire in the Blood, Packed to the Rafters and Hi-5, and Southern Star’s 49% stake in its joint venture Endemol Southern Star, which produces Big Brother.

There has been much acquisition activity in Australia over the last twelve months with FremantleMedia also acquiring a stake in Beyond Distribution and BBC Worldwide buying a 25% stake in indie producer Freehand. Southern Star, itself, sold its stake in UK indie Carnival Films to NBC Universal last year.

Fairfax Media, has, however, kept control of two British independent producers that were previously owned by Southern Star, kids producer Darrall Macqueen and factual producer Oxford Scientific Films.