ExclusiveThe European independent film sector is undergoing an overhaul with the formation of a new Vuelta Group studio, Deadline can reveal.
Led by French media veteran Jerome Levy as group chairman, Vuelta secured $50 million in backing from an anonymous US private equity firm and recently acquired Paris-based international sales company Playtime Group (as part of an agreement struck last week), German distributor-SquareOne and producer distributor Nordic and Scanbox product.
Discussions are underway regarding the membership of companies from Italy, Spain and the Benelux countries, in addition to another French company.
Amid the proliferation of platforms in Europe and the consolidation of US-backed independent studios such as Leonine and Mediawan, the Vuelta partners felt they would be stronger together.
The joint venture will focus on distribution as well as film and television production. Each company will continue to operate independently and with its previous brand but will remain within the Vuelta Group, of which it will become a shareholder.
Former Levi’s and Archie Comics, Houlihan Lockey, Mesa, Canal Place and CEO of Goldman Sachs lead the operation with longtime Backup Media partner David Atlan Jackson serving as chief content officer. Scroll down to meet us with them.
Former Fremantle Chief Financial Officer Allen Duffy is the Chief Financial Officer. Playtime’s Sebastian Biva, Square One’s Al Munteanu and Scanbox’s Thor Sigurjonsson sit on the board, along with an anonymous member from the US private equity firm. The Vuelta will be based in Dublin for tax purposes.
Levy said: “We are delighted to launch this ambitious project to help European industry create their own stories and tell them internationally. The European market is unique and rich. Our ambition is to double European commercial production. »
Atlan Jackson added: “Through development, financing, production and distribution using our European DNA, we will become a one-stop-shop across Europe for all talent. The Vuelta Group is the only group that combines unique local distribution expertise with international production capabilities.”
Scanbox has been stepping up its acquisitions in recent months and we can reveal that the latest company has already bought Jason Statham starrer beekeeperBig budget reboot of Sylvester Stallone Interesting ending A sequel to Vin Diesel Riddick: Take a shotAs well as Cannes competition films may dec and Ken Loach old oak.
Scanbox CEO Sjörjönson said, “Being part of a European group in the current landscape will enhance our local and global efforts. We have many rich stories to tell, while growing our distribution business locally. We are delighted to be part of a family of like-minded entrepreneurs.”
About: Scanbox CEO Thor Sigurjonsson explains how Vuelta Group membership will position the company to win in the Nordic countries and beyond: ‘It is possible to change things’
Distributor and producer SquareOne has recently picked up films from Cannes incl is investigating With Arnold Schwarzenegger and warlords Sequel with Nicolas Cage and Daisy Ridley Starr cleaner.
Company founder and former MTV host Al Munteanu said: “We are thrilled to be the co-architects of an exciting new project that builds on our long history of connecting Europe and the US. Embarking on a project with like-minded colleagues across Europe is a great opportunity to build strength in entertainment across All media.
About: SquareOne Boss Al Munteanu on Vuelta deal: “The idea is to get distributors to become producers”
Playtime was recently at the Cannes Film Festival with headlines from the competition About dry herbs Written by Nuri Bilge Ceylan W Back home by Catherine Corsini. You are currently financing and pre-selling Mr. Aznavour With Tahir Rahim.
“Joining the Vuelta is the best way for Playtime to bring its international expertise to a group of distributors and producers like us, entrepreneurs at heart, with demanding flair and talent that must be looking to develop around the world,” said Nicholas Brigaud-Robert, Founder of Playtime. Co-CEO. .
About: French Playtime reveals why he joined New European Group Studio Vuelta Made Sense
delivery date: What is the company’s ambition and how was it born?
Jerome LevyThe ambition is to create a European studio of like-minded entrepreneurs, with a major focus on European distribution and content and building its film and TV library over time. We started talking last year. David and I thought there was a need for a European player who would focus on distribution in several regions and who could act as a financial partner.
David Atlan Jackson: At Backup, we partnered with The Jokers and Cineart as distributors. As platforms proliferate, things get more competitive. We will be involved in development, production and joint acquisition with our Vuelta partners, but we will also be involved in development and production with third parties.
delivery date: Where does the United States fund?
cut off: We have a relationship with a fund in the US, but the major shareholders are the companies we’re acquiring. We want to assert ourselves in future acquisitions and are also looking to raise European capital from third parties. This is running.
The US fund has interests in a number of media companies, including some larger than us. They are smart and have a lot of experience helping companies with acquisitions, but they prefer not to be named in the press. It’s not KKR. They are more secretive than that.
delivery date: How much do they spend and how much of the work do they control?
group: We consider ourselves a European company. We have 51% support from Europe and 49% support from the United States. We wanted to have more European support than some of the other big studios in Europe today. In terms of amount, they have allocated tens of millions to the project. It’s over $50 million.
delivery date: What’s your background, Jerome?
group: I co-founded the investment bank MESA in 2003. It was sold to investment bank Houlihan Lokey in 2015. We have advised film, television and music companies, including Endemol, Banijay, Tinopolis and others. She recently invested in and served as Vice President of Archie Comics Publications, helping produce shows like Riverdale And Chilling Adventures of Sabrina And they’re doing a big Hindi original for Netflix later this year. I sold my stake in Archie last year to a private equity group to focus on this project.
delivery date: Why did you call Vuelta?
groupWe wanted a European name of Latin origin. Vuelta stands for Tour, which reflects our content broadcast around the world.
delivery date: Why is there no British component and can there be growth outside Europe?
Atlan Jackson: The idea is to have a company in every territory of Western Europe, even if the UK is not a priority at the moment. We definitely want to work with British talent, but we think we don’t need to be based in the country to do that. The UK retail market is also facing significant challenges. Next year we will determine if we should expand into Eastern Europe, Latin America and/or the UK. We don’t want to grow too fast.
group: It is also true that many farmers want to stay with the UK and the US on the upside.
Atlan JacksonPriority for integration in Western Europe. We are in an advanced stage with an Italian company and a French production and distribution company. We are in preliminary talks with companies from the Benelux and Spain. We have to be careful about the people we use to make sure they are the right companies. We have our goals and we’ve made deals so far with every one of our goals on our list.
delivery date: Is there a concern that they aren’t all on board already?
Atlan Jackson: It takes time to identify the right partners. We are very forward with most of the companies on our list. developed rapidly. In the next 12 months, we will hopefully have achieved most of our goals.
delivery date: Do you expect Hollywood successes to affect business?
Atlan Jackson: not yet significantly. Takeovers could be an issue in the markets if things continue. None of us want a chance. We want a healthy ecosystem. But the impact is not as important to us as corporate America. In fact, there may be projects in a language other than English that travel better during an American strike.
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