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RTL Group’s FremantleMedia has acquired a majority stake in French production company Fontaram.
Fontaram is a newly formed scripted company from TV veterans Francois Aramburu and Pascal Fontanille. The company will be co-directed by Aramburu and Fontanille and chaired by Fremantle France CEO Monica Galer.
The international production powerhouse will have a 51 percent stake in Fontaram and the right to fully acquire the company in the future.
The acquisition is part of FremantleMedia’s increased global drive to expand, following its recent purchase of Italian TV and feature film production house Wildside and acquisition of a 25 percent stake in the U.K.’s Corona TV.
FremantleMedia is the reality production powerhouse behind global brands such as the Idol, X Factor and Got Talent franchises, but it has recently focused on strengthening its drama quotient, particularly with European properties.
Its German subsidiary, UFA, produced the hit Deutschland 83, which is the first German-language show to air in the U.S. and has sold wide internationally.
It has begun development on international drama The Fight, starring Piper Perabo, which will be shot in five countries over five seasons, under Corona TV. It is also behind A&E’s The Returned, based on the French drama Les Revenants.
Amamburu and Fontanille have a successful history of French production, shepherding several hits to French screens, including TF1’s Clem, France2’s Delite de Fuite and France3’s Meurtres au Pays Basque under their Merlin Productions banner.
“François and Pascale are incredibly talented drama producers with a wealth of experience and long-standing relationships with all of the major French broadcasters. This is an important deal for FremantleMedia as we establish our scripted presence in France, and I look forward to a successful creative partnership with the duo,” said Galer.
Aramburu and Fontanille added: “In creating Fontaram and partnering with FremantleMedia, we are giving our new production company the best possible foundation to grow while also fulfilling our creative ambition. Joining an international group to produce French drama and international co-productions both broadens our opportunities and allows us to develop new content within an environment that is constantly changing.”
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