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BKN uses IPO dough to grow Euro co-pros and studios

Cologne, Germany-based BKN International recently went public on the hot Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and is using the financing to up its presence in the European kids biz....
May 1, 2000

Cologne, Germany-based BKN International recently went public on the hot Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and is using the financing to up its presence in the European kids biz.

‘The reason we went public in Germany is because Germany is our biggest marketplace-generating over 25% of our revenue,’ says Leslie Nelson, senior VP of international television and video sales. The share price is now nearly double the initial offering price of US$29, netting between US$54 and US$59 Euro on average.

In order to create even more of an international presence, Nelson says BKNI is concentrating on investing in co-productions like the upcoming Kong: The Animated Series, with newly merged company Expand (comprised of Expand and French prodco Ellipse Programme). In addition to strengthening its library of animated series through its own productions, BKNI will also expand via acquiring some catalog material. Nelson estimates that BKNI will work on one to two international co-productions per year. Part of the strategy to increase its visibility in the international marketplace, says Nelson, includes opening new production facilities in Germany and France sometime in 2000.

BKNI also plans to purchase a licensing and merchandising company in the U.K. this year, with a focus on new media products like CD-ROMs and video games. Licensing revenues make up approximately 30% of BKNI’s business.

Yet another portion of the newly public company’s strategy is to use the Internet to promote BKNI’s programming. In addition to developing a corporate Web site, Kong and Roswell Conspiracies will have sites within the next few months, and there are future plans for e-commerce.

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