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Banijay Raises $416 Million; ‘Survivor’ Deal Closes Within Weeks

Variety logo Variety 7/10/2017 Stewart Clarke
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Banijay Group has raised €365 million ($416 million) and will use part of the cash to pay for Castaway Productions, the company part-owned by Bob Geldof and that owns “Survivor.”

Banijay moved to acquire “Survivor” in late March and that deal will now close by the end of the month, the company told Variety, giving the France-based international producer and distributor one of the best-known unscripted properties in TV.

The new injection of cash comes in the form of a five-year bond. Announced at the end of June, the bond issue has now been completed. Banijay said that the cash will be used to finance the deal for Castaway and to refinance the debt it accrued as a result of its merger with Zodiak.

The company would not break out how much of the bond issue would be spent on Castaway, which is owned by Charlie Parsons, Waheed Alli and Geldof.

The trio kept the rights to the “Survivor” format when they sold their Planet 24 production company to ITV. It was Parsons who created “Survivor” in the 1990s, and it is still on air in numerous countries. In the U.S., “Survivor: Game Changers” is on CBS.

The deal means U.K.-based Banijay Rights will have “Survivor” in its lineup for MIPCOM in October, the biggest TV market of the year. It already distributes physical game show “Fort Boyard” and adventure expedition series “71 Degrees North.”

The bulk of the new cash is, however, expected to be used to cover the debt taken on as part of the Banijay and Zodiak merger.

That deal closed early last year and led to the creation of an international TV business with estimated revenues of about €1 billion. It is controlled by Stephane Courbit’s Lov Group alongside De Agostini. Vivendi also has a 26% stake in the business.

“Versailles” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” are among Banijay’s major properties, and it has production companies in 13 different countries.

TBI first reported that Castaway was being sold.

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