Banijay takes 50% of Germany's Brainpool

French TV production house continues shopping spree

BERLIN -- Fast-growing French production house Banijay Entertainment has taken a 50% stake in German group Brainpool, the company behind hit format "Beat Your Host."

Brainpool owners Jorg Grabosch, Ralf Gunter, Andreas Scheuermann and Stefan Raab control the remaining 50% of the Cologne-based company, each holding a 12.5% stake.

Brainpool and Banijay have partnered before, most recently on a French version of "Beat Your Host," which a Banijay subsidiary produced for French network TF1.

The Brainpool buy is the latest in a shopping spree by Banijay that has seen the French group buy up Spain's Cuarzo Prods, Russian production house Intelegencia and French group Air Prods. Similar to Elizabeth Murdoch's Shine Group, Banijay and CEO Stephane Courbit are looking to establish a pan-national production network focusing on reality and light-entertainment formats.

Brainpool is one of Germany's largest independent TV production houses. In addition to "Beat Your Host," which has sold across Europe, the company produced such hits as Emmy-nominated sketch comedy show "Ladykracher" and "Stormberg," a German adaptation of BBC hit "The Office."