Endemol Shine Sells Producer of Netflix's 'Dark' to KKR's Leonine

Leonine
Max Wiedemann, Quirin Berg

Company heads Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg will take over fiction production at the German studio, which is controlled by the private equity giant.

Leonine, the German media group formed by private equity giant KKR earlier this year, has acquired leading local TV producer W&B TV, which makes Dark for Netflix, from Endemol Shine Group. 
 
The deal, unveiled Friday, brings W&B founders Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg into the Leonine family. KKR previously acquired the pair's film division, Wiedemann & Berg Film.The duo will also join Leonine's executive board, with both named Chief Production Officers at the company. Berg will also take on the role of Chief Creative Officer at Leonine and Wiedemann will have the additional role of Chief Business Development Officer of the group, responsible for the development of new business areas and their integration into the group.
 
Both men will oversee the company's fiction production business, covering films, TV and co-production.
 
The executives are two of Germany's most successful and prolific producers. On the film side, they produced Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winning drama The Lives of Others and his Oscar-nominated follow-up Never Look Away, as well as such local hits as Who Am I and Welcome to Germany. Their TV division has acquired a reputation for cutting-edge series, including Dark, Netflix's first German-language series, the gangster drama 4 Blocks, which airs on TNT/Turner in Germany, and Pagan Peak, one of Sky's first German-language originals. They are currently in production on Tribes of Europa, another Netflix original. 
 
In addition to Wiedemann and Berg's operations, Leonine controls indie film distributor Universum and television and rights giant Tele-Munchen Group. German industry veteran Fred Kogel is the CEO of Leonine.
 
"With the acquisition of W&B TV, we have completed Leonine's foundation,” said Philipp Freise, co-head of KKR's private equity business in Europe. “There is hardly any other German media company with a comparable position in the production business. On this basis, Leonine will not only be able to grow successfully in this disruptive environment, but also actively shape this market.”
 
The acquisition of W&B TV, which is still pending regulatory approval, bolsters Leonine's production credentials as the company, still less than a year old, moves forward with its ambitious plans to becoming a one-stop shop for premium content. Up until now, the group has mainly made headlines for its film acquisitions, striking deals for high-profile titles for the German-language market, including Knives Out, Hustlers and Roland Emmerich's upcoming sci-fi epic Moonfall