Mediawan & Leonine buy ‘Doctor Foster’ & ‘Pure’ UK prodco Drama Republic

Doctor Foster

Mediawan in France and Germany’s Leonine Studios have taken a majority stake in Drama Republic, the UK prodco behind Pure, Doctor Foster and The Honourable Woman.

The French and German outfits joined forces last year via the Mediawan Alliance and will now be formally known as Mediawan & Leonine Studios, with the 51% stake in the Greg Brenman and Roanna Benn-led production firm marking the group’s first major move into English-language production.

Brenman, Benn and chief creative officer Jude Liknaitzky will remain in their respective roles at Drama Republic, with the deal formally closing on 1 July.

Pure

Financial details have not been revealed, but the agreement hands Mediawan & Leonine access to a firm behind shows including The Irregulars and projects with writers Sara Collins, David Ireland and Nicole Taylor.

The prodco also has relationships with an array of UK talent including director Hugo Blick (The English), novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls (Patrick Melrose) and playwright Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster).

Leonine & Mediawan’s pact

Mediawan & Leonine Studios, meanwhile, has now cemented its position as a major player on the European landscape, led by co-CEOs Pierre-Antoine Capton from Mediawan and Leonine’s Fred Kogel.

Capton founded Mediawan in 2015 with Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, and the trio have consistently spoken of fast-growing expansion plans.

The company acquired Lagardere Studios last year and also own firms such as Storia Television, the company created to sell EuropaCorp’s TV business. It took majority stakes in Makever and Mon Voisin Productions in 2018 and struck a deal to buy AB Groupe a year earlier, the first acquisition from the group.

In June last year the Mediawan Alliance took a minority stake in Leonine, which is the fast-growing German media group backed by US-based private equity firm KKR. Its interests include Tele München Group, Universum Film, Universum, i&u TV and Dark producer Wiedemann & Berg TV, which is now led by former Bavaria Fiction chief creative officer Oliver Vogel.

Nina Etspueler

Leonine has also been on a hiring spree over the past year, naming Red Arrow Studios’ former group creative director Nina Etspueler to lead its entertainment interests and appointing former Sky Vision and Sonar exec Patrick Phelan to lead its global distribution efforts.

Nurturing ‘new perspectives’

Mediawan & Leonine Studios said that it “nurtures international talents, develops and produces innovative premium IP for a global market, while also holding market-leading positions in production, distribution and licensing in their respective territories.”

On the Drama Republic deal, Capton said the acquisition “unlocks fantastic opportunities” including “synergies in co-production, distribution and licensing, enabling our local hits to travel globally.”

“Mediawan & Leonine Studios will give us even more firepower on a day-to-day basis to support talents and create appealing content with international potential,” he added.

Pierre-Antoine Capton, Xavier Niel & Matthieu Pigasse

Kogel, CEO of Leonine, said: “Our partnership will open up endless new perspectives for talents, as well as our customers and partners.

“In the last few years, Drama Republic’s co-founders & co-CEOs Greg and Roanna and their team proved their unique capability to produce premium content with a global reach, partnering with both traditional broadcasters and streaming platforms on high-end series.”

Brenman and Benn said: “As the makers of Call My Agent and Dark, their ability to produce stellar content couldn’t be more evident. We are thrilled and honoured to help lead their expansion into English-language content.”

 

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