French production giant Banijay is reportedly in talks with Australian media company Seven West Media to buy the latter’s Seven Studios operation.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Banijay could be willing to spend between A$170m ($120m) to A$200 million for the studio, which produces shows including Home & Away, Border Security and My Kitchen Rules.
Soap opera Home & Away is seen as a particularly profitable acquisition, with the show sold into more than 80 countries and earning Seven around A$30m per year. Banijay Rights CEO Cathy Payne has previously told TBI the show is one the most profitable she has sold.
Talks are understood to be at an early stage and no firm offer has yet been made.
A sale would be a welcome financial boost for Seven, which had a reported A$541m of net debt at the end of 2019 and has since sold Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media Australia for A$40m, as well as West Australian Newspaper headquarters to property developer PrimeWest for A$75m.
It emerged back in February that Seven West Media’s chief executive James Warburton had appointed investment bank Morgan Stanley to explore the sale of Seven Studios. ITV Studios, Disney and Comcast’s NBC Universal were among those reportedly showing interest.
And earlier this month, Australian production and distribution group Beyond International struck a deal with Seven to buy the British-based division, Seven Studios UK. Beyond also acquired the remaining 50.98% of shares in LA-based 7Beyond Media Rights that it did not previously own from Seven Network.
Banijay, meanwhile, recently completed its £2.2bn acquisition of Endemol Shine Group, creating a production giant comprising more than 120 production labels across 22 territories.