KKR-Backed German Film Group Finally Picks a Name

Fred Kogel
Courtesy of Leonine

Leonine, meaning lion-like, is the name of the new holding company made up of film firms Tele Munchen Group (TMG) and Universum and TV production shingles Wiedemann & Berg and i&u TV.

Germany's latest mini-major finally has a name.

Leonine is the brand name for the media group created by private equity company KKR through the merger of indies Universum and Tele-Munchen Group, as well as TV production shingles Wiedemann & Berg and i&u TV, the company announced Friday.

The word, meaning lion-like, is intended to reflect the group's Bavarian origins — the lion is the state symbol of Bavaria and TMG, Universum and Wiedemann & Berg are all based in Munich, the state capital — as well as its ambition to become a king of the German content business.

Company CEO Fred Kogel said the name “describes for us above all an attitude — courage, energy, confidence and a strong sense for team play ... we aim to establish Leonine as a continuously reliable 'one-stop shop' for premium content."

Alongside Kogel as CEO, Leonine Holding's executive team includes chief operating officer Markus Frerker, CFO Joachim Scheuenpflug and chief distribution officer Bernhard zu Castell. The company will be sub-divided into Leonine Production, Leonine Distribution and Leonine Licensing divisions.

Production subsidiaries, including Wiedemann & Berg Film, TMG-owned Odeon Film and i&u TV, will keep their names, as well as the TMG-owned television channels Tele 5 and the SVOD channels Filmtastic, Home of Horror and Arthouse CNMA.

The new group has been active in snatching up high-profile titles for the German market, recently acquiring Toronto buzz films Hustlers and Knives Out for the Germany and Austria.