International producer and distributor Banijay Group has acquired Australian producer Screentime, the company behind hit crime drama Underbelly, as it looks to move into the scripted world.
Banijay has acquired a majority stake in the production company, which was founded by Des Monaghan and Bob Campbell, and marks the first time that Banijay has moved into Australia, New Zealand or Ireland, where Screentime has bases.
The move will see Banijay forge a new presence in the scripted business and will also see Screentime, which produced reality format Popstars, have access to Banijay’s formats to produce locally.
Monaghan will continue as executive chairman, while Campbell will continue as managing director following the sale. The pair said: “We are delighted that Screentime is entering this association with Banijay enabling us to become part of a major international production group. It will give Screentime and its people access to Banijay’s international creativity and innovation. At the same time it will provide a powerful and well-resourced distribution outlet for our programmes and formats through Banijay International.”
François de Brugada, executive vice president, Banijay Group, added: “We have been keen to extend our presence in English speaking territories, but we knew that we needed to be patient and wait to make the right choice. Screentime’s expertise, creativity, impressive IP and attitude excite us and we believe the alignment of both our cultures will ensure a seamless and successful integration.”