Company News

← Back to publications

July 24, 2014

Senator Entertainment AG and Wild Bunch S.A. announce intention to join forces

  • German and French media companies aim to form leading European independent filmed entertainment distribution and production group
  • New group to be active in four European markets and to further strengthen its position in Germany
  • Senator Entertainment to execute its internationalization strategy and deliver a clear growth perspective following its successful financial restructuring
  • Planned business combination and corresponding capital measures are subject to approval by Senator Entertainment’s shareholders at an EGM on September 12, 2014

Berlin/Paris, July 24, 2014 – Senator Entertainment AG and the pan-European distribution company Wild Bunch S.A. have agreed to combine businesses to create a leading European film distributor and producer following the successful completion of the recapitalization of Senator Entertainment. The new company would manage a library of around 2,200 films and have consolidated revenues of more than 185 million € (based of 2013 figures). The proposed combination of these two independent distribution companies will create an attractive and strong group, well positioned to grow into a global player with capabilities across all distribution channels, from cinemas to digital.

Both Senator Entertainment and Wild Bunch bring in their respective strengths. Senator Entertainment’s experience and assets in Germany combined with Wild Bunch Germany’s activities will make the new company an even more powerful player on the largest media market in Europe.

The new company also plans to further expand on Wild Bunch’s existing pan-European presence with leading direct distribution activities in France, Spain and Italy and highly recognized international sales activities. Wild Bunch also brings its experience and know-how in electronic distribution, evidenced by its On Demand-Service (VOD/SVOD) FilmoTV. With these technical solutions, Senator Entertainment gains direct access to new digital marketing platforms, an important component of Senator’s announced strategic growth plan.

The two companies have a long common history, from the joint venture operation Central Film Verleih to acquisition of movies (King’s Speech, The Reader) and to cooperation in video and TV sales. The new group is thus confident in its ability to realise significant synergies.

The existing management teams of Wild Bunch and Senator Entertainment will take over the operational leadership of the group. Thus, the new management will be composed by the Wild Bunch founders Vincent Grimond as the new Chief Executive Officer, Brahim Chioua (Chief Operating Officer), Vincent Maraval (Chief Content Officer) as well as Senator Entertainment Management Board member Max Sturm (Chief Financial Officer).

Vincent Grimond, Chairman and CEO of Wild Bunch, says: “The new financially restructured Senator Entertainment benefiting from the strong support of its key shareholder Sapinda and of its stock market listing in Germany, is a perfect partner for the next phase of our company’s development.”

Max Sturm, sole Director of the Senator Entertainment Management Board, expresses his confidence in the success of the planned business combination: “This is a major step in our strategic and financial restructuring process. As previously stated, one of our main goals for an even stronger Senator Entertainment is the internationalisation of our business. Combining with our cooperation partner Wild Bunch provides an excellent way to stabilise earnings and strengthen marketing power in a joint company. Together with the announced capital measures this business combination is key for a successful restructuring of Senator Entertainment.”

The business combination is to be carried out via a capital increase against contribution in kind, where all shares of Wild Bunch are contributed into Senator Entertainment. This measure will be put to vote, together with the previously announced recapitalization measures, at an extraordinary general meeting on September 12, 2014. Details regarding the measures are stated in the corresponding ad hoc disclosure published by Senator Entertainment on July 24, 2014 or in the invitation to the extraordinary general meeting, which will be published in the German Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger) on August 4, 2014.

As a prerequisite for the business combination besides the pending approval of Senator Entertainment’s Supervisory Board, Senator Entertainment is obliged to successfully conclude its financial restructuring with the contribution of gross proceeds of around 16 million € in a cash capital increase and a debt-for-equity swap of up to 10 million €, hence reinforcing the company’s equity in the same amount. All of the capital measures are subject to the approval of Senator Entertainment shareholders at the extraordinary general meeting.

“I am well aware that we demand a lot from our shareholders through the announced capital measures, but it is crucial for the financial recovery of Senator Entertainment. At the same time we provide a clear and strong growth perspective with the Wild Bunch business combination. Through this step we immediately achieve the company size necessary to strengthen our purchasing and market position. Hence, we create a unique and convincing multi-domestic and pan- European player, poised for growth in a promising evolving market”, concludes Max Sturm.

Senator Entertainment has been advised by Anoa Capital and Wild Bunch has been advised by Bryan Garnier.

About Senator Entertainment:

Berlin-based Senator Entertainment AG has ranked as one of Germany’s leading independent media companies for more than 30 years. The company produces TV and film productions itself, or co-produces them, as well as acquiring distribution rights to finished films that it then distributes, as independently as possible, across all utilisation channels such as cinema, DVD and TV, and across all the various types of Internet utilisation forms.

Film distribution represents the core of the company’s operating activities. The founding of Senator Filmproduktion in 1987, of Senator Home Entertainment in 2006, and of Senator Köln Filmproduktion in 2009, represented complementary decisions to further improve Senator film distribution’s economic position within the value chain. Senator currently holds the rights to around 400 film and series titles of very different genres and subjects, mainly from Europe and the USA.

About Wild Bunch:

Wild Bunch is a leading independent European filmed entertainment distribution and production company that manages a library of more than 1,800 titles.

A major player in international sales the company developed a pan-European distribution network and is committed to direct distribution in France with (Wild Bunch Distribution & Wild Side), in Italy (BIM Distribuzione), in Germany (Wild Bunch Germany/Central Film) and in Spain (Vertigo). Wild Bunch has also positioned itself on the market of direct electronic distribution via its French VOD/SVOD platform, FilmoTV.

Wild Bunch recently sold internationally and directly distributed across its various home territories such renowned independent movies like The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, Adieu au langage by Jean-Luc Godard, Welcome to New York by Abel Ferrara, Jimmy’s Hall by Ken Loach, Two Days One Night by Dardenne’s Brothers, Blue is the Warmest Color by Abdellatif Kechiche, Twelve Years a Slave by Steve McQueen, The Little Prince by Mark Osborne…

Contact Senator Entertainment:
Media Relations
Senator Entertainment AG
Antje Pankow
Tel. +49 (30) 88091-551

Investor Relations
cometis AG
Ulrich Wiehle / Janis Fischer
Tel. +49 (611) 205855-64

Contact Wild Bunch:
Louise de Monjour
Tel.: +33 (1) 53 01 50 41
Cell : +33 6 03 47 68 77