Bavaria Film moves into unscripted with Story House Group acquisition


Germany’s Bavaria Film is moving into factual and unscripted programming after striking a deal to acquire two domestic production firms belonging to Story House Group.

Story House Productions in Berlin and Story House Pictures in Unterföhring will both become wholly owned by Bavaria Film, following the acquisitions via Bavaria Film Content. Financial details have not been revealed.

Story House was founded in 1999 by Carsten Oblaender, Andreas Gutzeit and Jens Afflerbach, who will remain with the company under its new owners. The firm focuses on factual and factual entertainment, including long-running series such as ZDF duo Terra X – A Day In… and The Great Food Report, Galileo Plus for ProSieben and King Of Trucks for Discovery’s DMAX.

Story House also produces for the digital marketplace, including the ZDF nutrition YouTube platform ZDF Besseresser, while the scripted-focused Story House Pictures has produced series such as Dignity for Joyn, HBO and Amazon Prime Latin. Its slate also includes Sisi for RTL and Germany’s Beta Film.

The acquisition marks Bavaria Film’s expansion into the non-scripted and factual entertainment space, which the German firm said would also provide potential to its scripted division, highlighting Dignity and Sisi as “notable examples”.

Christian Franckenstein, CEO at Bavaria Film, said: “We are very pleased that our colleagues Oblaender, Gutzeit and Afflerbach place their trust in us to help continue the success story of Story House. Together with them as current and continuing managing directors, we will continue down this path.

“The German production market is characterised by an ongoing wave of consolidation. With this takeover, Bavaria Film is also staking a claim as an active participant in this consolidation process. We are doing everything we can to maintain our market position as one of the top five productions houses in Germany. The expansion of our portfolio to include the growing genres of documentary and docutainment should make us even more attractive as a content provider for our clients, broadcasters and platforms.”

Carsten Oblaender, CEO & GM at Story House, added: “The inclusion of the Story House companies into Bavaria Film family is a win-win situation – strategically and in terms of content. In a consolidating market, Story House will have even more opportunities in the future as part of one of Germany’s top 5 media companies to ensure high quality development, production and marketing of its premium content.”

Germany has become a hotbed of M&A activity of late, led by the fast-growing Leonine, which hired Red Arrow Studios’ former group creative director Nina Etspueler to lead its entertainment interests last year. The company is backed by US private equity investor KKR and home to companies including Tele München Group, Universum Film, Universum and i&u TV, as well as Wiedemann & Berg TV – the producer behind Netflix drama Dark.

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