Red Arrow Acquires Majority Stake in 'Wahlburgers' Producer 44 Blue

Rasha Drachkovitch and Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch - H Publicity 2016
Courtesy of 44 Blue Productions

The company has takent a 65 percent stake in the independent producer.

Red Arrow Entertainment Group has acquired a majority stake in independent production company 44 Blue Productions, whose credits include Wahlburgers, Nightwatch and Lockup.

Red Arrow has taken a 65 percent stake in Los Angeles-based 44 Blue, which was founded in 1984 by Rasha Drachkovitch and Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch and focuses on unscripted content including docuseries, factual entertainment, celeb-reality and lifestyle and action-adventure programming.

Red Arrow Entertainment Group, the production arm of German TV giant ProSiebenSat.1, is comprised of 19 production companies across seven countries, alongside global distributor Red Arrow International, and produces scripted, non-scripted and factual television programs; feature films; and digital content for an array of global networks and platforms.

This acquisition represents a further strategic investment for Red Arrow to broaden its factual entertainment portfolio and grow its presence in the U.S. The addition of 44 Blue brings the total of Red Arrow's U.S.-based companies to nine.

"Rasha and Stephanie have over 40 years of combined production experience and have established a first-rate and highly respected team," Red Arrow Entertainment Group chairman and CEO Jan Frouman said Wednesday in a statement. "Working together with 44 Blue is a great opportunity for Red Arrow to partner with a dynamic, successful and highly collaborative company. This partnership offers us expanded access to A-list talent and premium factual and reality TV content."

In addition to Wahlburgers and Nightwatch (both of which air on A&E) and Lockup (which will end its 16-year run on MSNBC later this year), 44 Blue's current slate includes E!'s Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry and Animal Planet's long-running Pit Bulls & Parolees.

"Our partnership with Red Arrow immediately unlocks global distribution and access to the kind of scale that will allow us to leverage our formats and expand our storytelling to new audiences around the world," said Rasha Drachkovitch, who serves as CEO of 44 Blue. "The combination of our loyal and talented team, our deep network and talent relationships, and Red Arrow's global reach represents virtually limitless opportunities to create and distribute our best work yet."

Added 44 Blue president Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch: "We've been consistently impressed by Red Arrow for quite some time, and couldn't have asked for a better strategic partner. They recognize and appreciate the intense commitment that the 44 Blue team brings to each of our projects. We're looking forward to continuing to create top-notch content with one of the industry's global leaders and accelerate our innovation in areas such as digital and virtual reality."

As part of the deal, Red Arrow will gain access to Ovrture, the virtual reality studio launched in 2015 to produce 360-degree and immersive content for broadcasters including A&E and MSNBC, as well as brands and digital platforms.

44 Blue Productions will continue to be led by co-founders Rasha and Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch. Red Arrow International will distribute the company's programs internationally.

In addition to 44 Blue, Red Arrow Entertainment Group's other U.S.-based companies include Kinetic Content, Fabrik Entertainment, Left/Right, Half Yard Productions, Karga Seven Pictures, Dorsey Pictures, Ripple Entertainment and Band of Outsiders. It also includes scripted companies Cove Pictures and Mad Rabbit, which have offices in the U.S.

44 Blue is repped by William Morris Endeavor. Ron Milkes and Bryan Bowles of Bryor Media Partners and Matt Thompson of Sidley Austin LLP advised 44 Blue on the transaction. Red Arrow was advised by Stella Capital Advisors and Milbank.