Elon Musk’s reluctant $44BN Twitter buyout and Warner Bros’ merger with Discovery were the most market-shifting M&A deals of the year but outside the U.S. there were several major developments that have impacted the global market.
Scroll through the gallery above for a reminder of the other splashy M&A deals of 2022.
The agency world sat up in June when UTA unexpectedly announced the acquisition of British literary and talent agent Curtis Brown Group, which our sources have speculated is the first step in the “Americanization” of the UK market. Look out for WME and CAA making moves in Europe before long.
UTA wasn’t the only North American company getting in on the European management action, as we revealed in March that Lionsgate had taken a minority stake in London’s 42, which represents the likes of Jesse Armstrong, Julian Fellowes, Claire Denis and Charlie Brooker.
But it wasn’t all Americans taking over European companies. Quite the opposite in the case of France’s Mediawan, best known as the firm behind Netflix’s Call My Agent, when it shocked the world later in the year by buying a majority stake in Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. France has a complex relationship with the international market, despite running film and TVs biggest industry events, but it is emerging as a European powerhouse as Mediawan, Banijay, Asacha Media Group and Newen Connect continue to grow in strength and buy companies.
In super-indie land, Fremantle made the most headlines. Tasked by parent RTL with doubling revenues to €3BN ($3.2BN) by 2025, the Got Talent maker acquired several prominent indies, including the hot Irish drama firm Element Pictures, producer of BBC3 and Hulu’s Normal People and Conversations with Friends. Banijay, which went public when it became part of owner Stephane Courbit’s FL Entertainment, is in the process of buying Australia-based producer-distributor Beyond International, and also acquired producers in countries such as Israel.
Meanwhile, ITV Studios put down $103.5M to buy natural history maker Plimsoll Productions early in the year. Then, as Mipcom Cannes returned in October, news reports emerged claiming part of ITV’s production and sales arm was up for sale. Nothing concrete has followed, and several M&A and producer sources believe the story was a red herring designed to remind the stock market how well ITV Studios — and by extension ITV — has been doing despite a share price that’s fallen significantly this year.
Several other deals didn’t materialize. There had been speculation All3Media might be in play following its co-parent Discovery’s merger with Warner Bros., but nothing came of it and the super-indie broadly kept a low profile for the rest of the year. Next year might provide more clarity.
Perhaps the most significant non-mover was the merger of French broadcasters TF1 and M6, who came close to unifying until the local market regulator shot them down. Management on both sides said the move was a massive blow in the local networks’ fight against international streaming rivals, who are gaining more and more traction in the notoriously protective French market.
Looking ahead to 2023, there are several deals to keep an eye on, including the potential sale of UK firms Hat Trick Productions and Greenbird Media. On the former, All3 and Fremantle have been linked, while in the case of the latter, informed sources say one of the emerging European groups are likely buyers – another reason we’ll be watching the likes of Asacha, Mediawan and Germany’s Night Train Media closely. Rumors continue to connect Canada’s Cineflix Media with a sale but there’s nothing definite there yet, and Fremantle may continue its dealmaking spree, though sources indicate this might be over for the time being.
The post International M&A In 2022: The Key Deals From UTA/Curtis Brown To Mediawan/Plan B & INOX/PVR appeared first on Deadline.