Exclusive: Beyond Rights team to disband following Banijay takeover

Pooch Perfect

The majority of Beyond International’s rights team is to be let go following its acquisition by Banijay, TBI has learned.

The French group took full control of the London-, Ireland- and Australia-based firm in January and has moved quickly to subsume Beyond Rights’ catalogue into its own sales operation, Banijay Rights.

TBI understands that Beyond Rights staff have been able to apply for a handful of roles within Banijay Rights, with that integration process ongoing.

Mikael Borglund

Aside from these positions, the Beyond Rights team is being disbanded with all staff set to leave by the end of the month. Beyond International’s MD and CEO, Mikael Borglund, remains in place during the transition.

Beyond Rights had been led by CEO David Smyth, who left earlier this year having been appointed in late 2021, as revealed by TBI.

His senior team included COO James Matthew, head of sales Sarah Bickley, North American EVP Sherry Fynbo, and Jo Rowley, who had led sales in the UK, Nordics & Italy since March last year.

The company had also recently hired former Sky and CJZ Productions exec Steve Jones, who took a newly created role to oversee its development efforts.

A Banijay Rights spokesman declined to comment on specifics but said: “The changes come as part of Banijay’s integration of Beyond Rights into its existing distribution business, a process which is efficient, effective and fair.”

Production integration

The acquisition, which was initially struck last year, handed Banijay more than 8,000 hours of predominantly unscripted programming such as Highway Thru Hell and MythBusters, as well as Heavy Rescue: 401 and Massive Engineering Mistakes.

Scripted fare includes Halifax: Retribution, while kids shows such as Turbozaurs and formats including Pooch Perfectproduced for the BBC, Seven Network and TV2 Denmark – are also now in the Banijay Rights catalogue.

Highway Thru Hell

The deal also included Beyond Productions, whose latest titles include Love It Or List It Australia and Hulu’s dating show Back In The Groove, which was produced with Walt Disney Television Alternative.

TBI understands that no jobs are being cut on the production side, with the integration process underway.

The acquisition saw Beyond shareholders receiving A$0.77 ($0.51) cash per share – a 57% premium on its monthly average in September.

It came two years since the Aussie firm acquired TCB Media Rights following the collapse of its previous owner, Kew Media Group.

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