Frantic Films, BGM among six to be acquired by Kew Media

Under the proposed transaction, Kew will bring a number of Canada's most prominent unscripted and branded-content producers under its umbrella.

In a move that is certain to cause eyes to bulge in the Canadian production sector, Kew Media Group on Thursday announced its proposed acquisition of Bristow Global Media (BGM), Architect Films, Frantic Films, Media Headquarters Film and TV and Our House Media, as well as London- and L.A.-based film and TV distribution company Content Media Corporation (CMC).

In acquiring CMC, Kew will also bring five companies that are controlled by CMC under its umbrella: Helsinki, Finland-based Aito Media Oy, L.A.-based Collins Avenue Productions, New York-based Jigsaw Productions, L.A.-based Campfire Film & Television and London, U.K.-based Spirit Digital Media Limited.

The deal still needs to be approved by shareholders.

“The combination of CMC’s high-powered sales force with high-growth production companies that create and own superior intellectual property, will provide Kew with a proliferation of distribution and production opportunities,” stated a release announcing the proposed acquisitions, adding that the companies being acquired have more than 250 projects in development and “hundreds of hours of producible content expected to be delivered over the next 12 to 24 months.”

Kew, a Toronto-based media company, is headed up by cofounder of Blue Ice Group, Steven Silver, who serves as CEO, and former Alliance Atlantis exec Peter Sussman, who serves as executive chairman. The acquisition is set to bring a library of more than 6,000 hours of content under Kew’s umbrella.

Some of that Canadian content includes Bristow Global Media’s Hockey Wives and the upcoming Canada: The Story of Usas well as Our House Media’s Paranormal Survivor. 

The total upfront price of the purchase is approximately $104.1 million and the transaction is expected to be completed by March 2017, pending shareholder approval.

In June of 2016, Kew became Canada’s sixth special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to the Financial Post, which reported Kew had raised $70 million in the process. An SPAC is a company that raises investment through an initial public offering (IPO), usually with the intention of acquiring an existing, privately held company or companies.

Kew Media Group secured a private placement of $20 million from its current shareholders in addition to new investors, to purchase shares at $10.00 per share.

Once the transaction is complete, the company will be led by Silver and Sussman. Its board of directors will consist of Silver; Sussman; Julie Bristow, CEO and president of BGM; Sara Curran, managing director at Industry Media; David Fleck, partner and senior vice-president of C.A. Delaney Capital; Maurice Kagan, president of the real estate company Canal Group; Patrice Merrin, non-executive director of Glencore plc, Stillwater Mining Corporation and Novadaq Technologies; Stephen Pincus, senior partner, Goodmans; Wayne Purboo, CEO and founder of Quickplay Media; John Schmidt, CEO of CMC; Mark Segal EVP finance and CFO of Spin Master Corp.; Les Sherman, senior investment advisor and SVP of Dundee Goodman Private Wealth; Neil Tabatznik, former chairman and CEO of Genpharm Inc. and Arrow Canada; and Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Group and executive chairman and chief media officer of Interlude Ltd.

“There has never been a better time to be in the content business. We are incredibly excited by the companies we have brought together in Kew. It is a perfect platform for growth and further acquisitions,” Sussman and Silver said in a statement.

More to come