FremantleMedia, one of the largest creators and producers of global entertainment brands, today announces a strategic minority equity investment in Ludia, a leading developer and publisher of interactive casual games based in Montreal, Canada. The deal is part of FremantleMedia’s ongoing expansion into the high-growth video games market. It also follows a range of new growth initiatives by the company’s new business unit, FremantleMedia Ventures, and represents the division’s first equity investment.
“Ludia has rapidly carved out a unique position in the competitive video games market by combining a strong focus on quality, exceptional technology and a multiplatform strategy. The company’s leadership team is outstanding and has a strong track record in the industry,” said Christian Schneider-Sickert, FremantleMedia’s Director of Operations and Strategy, who will be joining Ludia’s board.
“FremantleMedia has a wealth of intellectual property with qualities that will not only translate brilliantly into games, but that also are highly relevant in different markets,” said Alex Thabet, President of Ludia. “We look forward to working together to expand Ludia’s business to bring more exciting game experiences to consumers world-wide.”
Olivier Delfosse, Vice President, FremantleMedia Enterprises North America said, “FremantleMedia Enterprises already has a substantial licensing business in the broader games market. This investment will deepen our relationship with Ludia, allowing us greater insight into the exciting interactive casual games sector while expanding our role in extending our shows onto new platforms and opening Ludia’s capabilities to FremantleMedia’s global licensing teams.”
The casual segment of the interactive games market is thought to be worth $2.25 billion, according to the Casual Games Association and is expected to grow by 20% year over year for established markets. Ludia has established itself as a leader in the space, creating games with wide appeal that can be played on an increasing number of platforms.
This investment in Ludia by FremantleMedia completes a second round of financing for the Company following an initial round of funding closed in early 2007 with a group of angel investors led by New York and Paris based Messier Associs Group.
FremantleMedia is one of the leading creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world. FremantleMedia is part of the RTL Group, Europe’s largest television and radio broadcast company, which is in turn 90 percent owned by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s major media and entertainment companies. FremantleMedia’s worldwide production arm is responsible for many of the world’s highest rated prime time entertainment, drama, serial drama and factual entertainment programmes. FremantleMedia Enterprises is the brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, offering a one-stop-shop for all Licensing, Distribution and Home Entertainment around the world. The FremantleMedia Group (which includes talkbackTHAMES, UFA and Grundy amongst others) has operations in 22 countries, one of the most comprehensive global networks, creating over 14,000 hours of programming a year, rolling out more than 60 formats and managing over 300 individual titles. FremantleMedia produces some of the world’s most sought after and long running formats, such as: Idols (co-produced with 19 Productions in the USA), The X Factor (co-produced with Syco in the UK), Got Talent (co-produced with Syco in the UK), Neighbours, The Bill, Family Feud, The Price is Right and Farmer Wants A Wife.
FremantleMedia Ventures was established in 2008 to identify new revenue and investment opportunities across the FremantleMedia Group. Working with the company’s production and enterprises divisions, it is focused on building new business activities that leverage FremantleMedia’s brand portfolio, creativity and global commercial footprint. It will also make selective strategic investments to expand FremantleMedia’s capabilities. In September 2008, FremantleMedia Ventures launched FremantleMedia Gaming, a new business unit targeting the growing online gambling market. Ludia represents FremantleMedia Venture’s first investment in the interactive casual games market.
FremantleMedia Enterprises is the brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, offering a one-stop-shop for all Licensing, Distribution and Home Entertainment. It is a division of FremantleMedia, one of the largest international creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world with leading prime time drama, serial drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming in over 40 countries worldwide.
Ludia creates and distributes cross-platform interactive entertainment with mass consumer appeal. Ludia’s innovative and high-quality product portfolio consists of original and branded properties, including American Idol(R), The Price Is Right(TM), Press Your Luck and Hell’s Kitchen(TM). Based in Montreal, Canada and founded by experienced industry players, Ludia completed its first round of financing from private investors in 2007.
Messier Associs Group is a Paris and New York based investment banking boutique providing tailored strategic advisory services in M&A, corporate restructuring, privatizations and PE transactions. It was founded in 2003 by Jean Marie Messier, former CEO of Vivendi Universal and Lazard Frres General Partners. Since 2007, Messier Associs Group also focuses on seed and early stage investments in emerging internet/new media companies in Western Europe and North America.