Two major French production companies, Expand and Ellipse Programme, have merged in order to better compete in the European market. The new company, with anticipated year 2000 revenues of US$209 million, will be called Expand.
The merger will take place via a share swap, whereby Expand will acquire Ellipse’s outstanding shares in exchange for 35% of Expand shares to be issued to Canal + Image. In 2003, Canal + Image will have the option to buy the remaining Expand shares.
The merged company’s production plans continue to range from children’s live-action and animated programming, to adult-targeted fiction and drama entertainment and documentaries. The entire catalog will be made up of 5,130 hours. Following the merger, the library will contain approximately 510 hours of animated programming, including Ellipse/Nelvana co-pro Babar and several hundred hours of live-action game/adventure series produced by Expand.
Marie-Pierre Moulinjeune, president in charge of co-productions for Ellipsanime, says the deal will give the company a strong competitive advantage in France and the European market. She adds that each strand within the newly formed company will continue to operate as it had before. Ellispsanime currently has nine animated series in production for this year and another five in preproduction. A major focus for the new company will be the development of new media content.