FremantleMedia acquires French scripted business, bolsters UK management


Joseph O'Halloran

| 09 September 2015

In a clear indication of where it needs to ramp up its business, FremantleMedia has acquired a majority stake in newly-formed French scripted company Fontaram, and appointed David Liddiment as non-executive chairman of its UK business.

Fontaram was founded by French producer/writer partners François Aramburu and Pascal Fontanille who previously formed Merlin Productions in 2000. The producers are best known for popular drama such as Clem (TF1) and other recent successes include On se Retrouvera (TF1), Délit de Fuite (France 2), Meurtres au Pays Basque and Meurtres à Guérande (France 3).

FremantleMedia will have a 51% holding, with the opportunity to buy the remaining shareholding in the future. The acquisition is part of FremantleMedia's drive to expand its scripted presence globally and follows its recent purchase of Italian TV and feature film company Wildside.

"François and Pascale are incredibly talented drama producers with a wealth of experience and long standing relationships with all of the major French broadcasters, said FremantleMedia France CEO Monica Galer. "This is an important deal for FremantleMedia as we establish our scripted presence in France and I look forward to a successful creative partnership with the duo."

Added François Aramburu and Pascal Fontanille: "In creating Fontaram and partnering with FremantleMedia, we are giving our new production company the best possible foundation to grow while also fulfilling our creative ambition. Joining an international group to produce French drama and international co-production both broadens our opportunities and allows us to develop new content, within an environment that is constantly changing."

Meanwhile across the Channel, Liddiment, a leading figure in UK commercial TV, will sit on the FremantleMedia Operating Board advising on a range of matters in the UK and globally. He will support and advise Interim CEO FMUK, Richard Holloway, as well as the managing directors of FMUK labels - Boundless, Euston Films, Newman Street, Retort, Shotglass Media, Talkback and Thames - and the FMUK Management Team to help grow and expand the genres and commercial opportunities for the UK business