Bridgepoint exits Marathon with sale to De Agostini

Bridgepoint exits the Marathon Group, the French TV production company, through a sale to trade buyer De Agostini. It had built up the company through a buy and build strategy over the last nine years.

European conglomerate De Agostini has bought Marathon Group, the French TV company, from UK buyout firm Bridgepoint for an undisclosed sum.

Management has also sold its stake, although De Agostini said in a statement it expects it to reinvest.

Turnover at Marathon Group was €110 million ($152 million) last year. It makes French drama, animation, documentary and entertainment programmes such as Sous le Soleil, Suspectes and Dolmen.

Bridgepoint originally acquired Télé Images in 1998 and expanded it with the acquisitions GTV in 2000 and ALP in 2004. The buyout firm then merged the company with Marathon in 2006.

A spokesman for Bridgepoint, said: “We identified Télé Images as a small but good platform investment in its sector and through the buy and build strategy over a number of years we looked to sell it to a trade buyer such as De Agostini.” 

Television production has been a popular investment choice for buyout firms with the market ripe for consolidation.

In May Big Brother producer Endemol was taken private for €2.4 billion by a consortium including Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the production group’s co-founder John de Mol,  via his investment vehicle Cyrte, and Mediaset Broadcasting Group, which is part-owned by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi