France's Lagardere Acquires Dutch Production Company Skyhigh TV

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Arnaud Lagardere

The French media conglomerate is looking to grow its TV division after disappointing financial results.

French media conglomerate Lagardere has acquired Dutch production company Skyhigh TV.

Skyhigh TV, which produces factual shows and formats, is behind The Bully Project and Model in One DayThe Bully Project was adapted by ABC in Australia with swimmer Ian Thorpe as the host and by Jamie Oliver's Fresh One for ITV in the U.K.

Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

It is the latest acquisition for its Lagardere Studios division, which bought Finland’s Aito Media in 2017 and Spain’s Boomerang TV in 2015. The acquisitions have come as the company continues to look to strengthen its international TV production.

The acquisitions "signal a new stage in Lagardere Studios’ international development, bringing the French champion one step closer to becoming European leader," said Denis Olivennes, president of the Lagardere Active unit, which houses all the company's media operations, including Lagardere Studios. 

“Our acquisition of Skyhigh TV naturally serves to further our strategy for international growth, but it will also accelerate our policy of creating and circulating formats among our various structures,” added Lagardere Studios head Christophe Thoral.

The group is also looking to fortify itself against a new player in the French market, Matthieu Pigasse, Xavier Niel and Pierre-Antoine Capton’s well-funded Mediawan. That company, backed by a €270 million ($332 million) investment fund, has been snapping up French production companies and bypassed Lagardere as the No. 1 producer of fiction in France last year.

With the Skyhigh acquisition, Lagardere can strengthen its formats production. In the fiction department, Lagardere is behind French primetime staples such as Josephine, Guardian Angel, which has been on the air for more than 20 years.

Lagardere has been looking to restructure its media division after years of disappointing financial results. It unloaded pricey Paris real estate to shore up its bottom line last year, but still delivered lower-than-expected numbers when it unveiled its 2017 fiscal year results last week.

Lagardere managing director Arnaud Lagardere has not ruled out selling its top-performing women’s magazine and lifestyle brand Elle to boost cash flow, but has said it will not sell weekly magazine Paris Match, newspaper Le JDD and radio station Europe 1.

Lagardere Studios has also invested heavily in the growing African market, with development of original films and series since its launch there in 2015.