Almost 4 months after Paris-based Zodiak Entertainment closed a deal to acquire U.K.’s RDF Media Group, creating the third largest independent TV production company in the world, the combined company has established an American outpost. RDF USA has merged with Zodiak Entertainment US to become Zodiak USA with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Zodiak USA will inherit the entire RDF USA senior management team led by RDF USA CEO Grant Mansfield, who will become CEO of Zodiak USA, and chief creative officer Natalka Znak. Zodiak Entertainment US had a small U.S. office, and nobody from it will transition to the new company. As a result of the merger, Zodiak USA will now have access to formats from companies in over 20 countries. Because Zodiak distributes mainly scripted product while RDF’s focus was on reality programming, Zodiak USA is looking to hire a drama executive to handle the new volume of scripted projects coming through the Zodiak international pipeline.
Paris-based Zodiak has bought an 8% stake in UK independent TV producer Shed Media. Another 2% more and Zodiak could stymie Time Warner, which is trying to buy Shed. Cyrte Investments, the investment company of Endemol-founder John De Mol, sold its 7.8% Shed stake to Zodiak on June 1. But the deal has only just come to light in a Stock Market footnote to another Shed investor, Aviva, selling 6% of its shares.
Last month, Zodiak closed a deal to acquire U.K.’s RDF Media Group, already creating the third largest independent TV production company in the world.
Time Warner could pay up to £90 million ($135 million) for Shed. The studio wants Shed, which makes Supernanny for America, because it wants to expand overseas, replicating the success it has had in America with hit shows such as The Wire and Gossip Girl – both of which have exported well. It recently hired ex-Tiger Aspect managing director Andrew Zein to buy independent TV producers and grow Warner Bros’ UK production business.