Home Entertainment Brad Pitt puts the second plan in motion with the sale to a French media group

Brad Pitt puts the second plan in motion with the sale to a French media group

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Brad Pitt Plan B Entertainment, originally famous Hollywood producer moon light and the big courtIt was bought by France’s Mediawan as part of a rare transatlantic deal that values ​​the US group at more than $300 million in cash and stock.

Pete told the Financial Times that the Oscar-winning company he co-founded in the early 2000s was “already bulging from the seams of our tiny garage” and was poised to grow with the support of Mediawan, a three-powered content group. The most prominent French media investors.

“We’ll only do that if we find like-minded partners. That’s how we really feel with MediaOne,” Pete said. “We have always focused on craftsmanship, art and artisans, and the possibility of being able to do that in a larger and more holistic way is exciting for us.”

Mediwan’s acquisition of one of Hollywood’s most valuable independent production assets marks the largest acquisition of French Hollywood deals since Vivendi acquired Universal Studios in 2001.

Mediawan, a private company, whose titles include Call my agent and the The three musketeersIt was founded in 2015 by billionaire Xavier Nel, investment banker Mathieu Bigas and television executive Pierre Antoine Capton. It has expanded rapidly in Europe in recent years, acquiring small to medium-sized production houses in locations from Spain to Germany, and is now making its first foray into the United States.

CEO Pierre-Antoine Capton described the deal as a strategic shift as Mediawan seeks to go global. “Plan B is the best independent producer in the US, so I didn’t want anything else to help us grow,” he told the Financial Times.

“She Said” drama about the Harvey Weinstein scandal produced by Plan B © JoJo Whilden / Universal Studios

During the production boom, when Hollywood was awash with frothy takeover offers, Plan B emerged as a highly enviable asset with a proven track record of producing high-quality, award-winning films, as well as TV series on Amazon and Netflix.

Three of his films – lateand the 12 years of slavery and the moon light It won an Oscar for Best Picture. Recent releases include a biography of Marilyn Monroe blonde For Netflix and Drama she says On the fall of Harvey Weinstein.

When asked if the wave of high-value deals convinced him to sell, Pitt replied, “Yes and no.”

“I feel like the gold rush has kind of stopped,” he said. “Many of these amazing performances have yet to prove themselves. Of course we wanted to be justly appreciated. We felt Mediwan did it.”

Neither Plan B nor MediaOne disclosed details of the deal. But people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times the Plan B deal was worth more than $300m, with Mediawan buying a majority stake in the group now and the rest at a later stage.

Half will be paid to the sellers in Mediaone shares and the other half will be paid in cash. Existing Mediawan shareholders, including private equity group KKR and French public investment fund BPI, will participate in the capital increase to avoid dilution.

The structure of the deal means that Pitt and his partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who run Plan B on a day-to-day basis, have an incentive to stay with the group because they will be involved in any value creation.

Paying in part in equity, one person said, helped mitigate the premiums Mediawan paid for Plan B, which were estimated to be about 15 times its annual base revenue of more than $10 million.

Capton acknowledged that it was important for MediaOne not to “jump in blindly”, given the checkered decades-long history of European investors in Hollywood. But he has noticed an increase in non-English content on streaming devices, including shows like thermosOpening up new opportunities for European players.

“The key to Mediawan’s success is allowing all the producers the independence to do their work. Plan B has excellent results, they make the best movies… It works just fine without me!” he says. “I don’t dream of having an office in a Hollywood blockbuster or being sort of pole. »

Kleiner, who joined Plan B in 2003, said there was a “cultural fit and understanding”.

“We want to grow and we want to do more things,” he said, “but we have to do it in an environment that preserves our DNA.” It’s hard to manage scale and quality and we like to think we’ve been pretty good at it over the past few years. »

Like all independent film producers, Plan B is grappling with a tougher market for independent films in theaters. “Anyone watching the box office this fall should pay attention to what’s going on,” said Gardner, the first woman to win two Best Picture Oscars.

We have trained everyone to watch movies differently, from home, in order to get through the pandemic. Of course, it will take some time to return. . . I hope so. »

Pitt underestimated Plan B’s ability to make films in French. While he owns a winery and a chateau in Provence and speaks French in a few films, he confirmed that it was thanks to the wonders of lip-syncing. He said: I need my friend’s ring. “So many episodes.”

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