Discovery/Liberty Global Close All3Media Deal

Search For New CEO Begins
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Discovery Communications and Liberty Global said Tuesday that they have closed their $930 million purchase of independent production house  All3Media.

The deal, which was first announced in May, involved Discovery and Liberty Global creating a joint venture to house All3Media, which has produced such hits as Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Undercover Boss, Skins, The White Queen, U.K. scripted reality show The Only Way Is Essex and Cash Cab New York. The company has about 8,000 hours of library content across all genres, including drama, comedy, factual and factual entertainment programming.

“All3Media is a production powerhouse, with a unique ability to attract, foster and retain some of the best creative minds in the business.  For nearly 30 years, Discovery has invested in high quality content and today’s deal furthers that commitment,” Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav in a statement.  “Discovery has a proven track record of nurturing creativity and building scale across the world. Working with our valued partner Liberty Global, we will focus on empowering All3Media to continue innovating and delivering even greater stand-out content to its clients and partners across the globe.”

All3Media group consists of 19 production companies across Europe and the U.S., and was previously owned by its founders and the Permira funds.   All3Media will continue to operate as it does today, with an independent executive management team.

“The business, which produces content for some of our biggest markets in Europe, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, is a natural fit for us and our strategy for content. Discovery is the perfect partner too, as they not only commission All3Media content already, but also share our ambition to create compelling, localized content for domestic markets, said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries in a statement. “Together, we will seek to preserve All3Media’s creative independence and support its management to further grow this strong creative business.” 

All3Media CEO Ramzan Golant has decided to step down from the company and a search for a new CEO will begin immediately, the company said. In the meantime, chief operating officer Jane Turton has been promoted to managing director and will oversee the transition period. Chief financial officer Neil Bright also will continue in that role.

Co-founders of All3Media Steve Morrison, Jules Burns and David Liddiment are retiring from All3Media’s Board of Directors. Steve Morrison will serve as a special advisor to the joint venture’s Board of Directors, which will have equal representation from Discovery Communications and Liberty Global.    

J.P. Morgan acted as financial adviser to Discovery Communications and Liberty Global. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP served as lead transaction counsel and Ashursts acted as lead regulatory counsel. In addition, DLA Piper LLP served as legal adviser to Discovery Communications. Centerview Partners acted as financial adviser to All3Media and Clifford Chance served as legal adviser. Shearman & Sterling served as legal adviser to the management team of All3Media.