Two of France’s most prominent studios are planning to join forces and become the second-largest independent production and distribution company in the territory. Following a standard audit that should take four months, Marathon Group will team up with Tele Images under the La Financière Hera (Finhera) umbrella.
U.K. capital investment fund Bridgepoint (which owns Tele Images and its 66% stake in drama studio GTV, as well as a majority share in Adventure Line Productions) has been eager to expand its French subsidiary. Bridgepoint will be the main shareholder of the new entity created by the merger, with ALP’s Denis Mermet and Marathon brass Pascal Breton and Vincent Chalvon-Demersay taking the reins. Finhera will initially house a combined catalogue of more than 7,000 hours of programming, including Marathon’s long-running prime-time soap St. Tropez and international animation hits Totally Spies! and Martin Mystery.
Chalvon-Demersay says his role won’t change much since the four companies within the group (Tele Images, ALP, Marathon and Marathon Animation) will retain their editorial autonomy, and he’s still interested in focusing mainly on the creative process. But the merger will give Marathon the support it needs to expand into areas such as CGI, preschool and feature films.