Private Investment Firm to Unlock Value of Media Assets by Creating Internet and Television Presence, Expanding Merchandising and Distribution
OpenGate Aggressively Pursuing High-Value, High Potential Media & Entertainment Deals
Los Angeles, CA – June 5, 2009 – OpenGate Capital, a global private equity firm, announced today a definitive agreement to acquire Fleurus Presse and Junior Hebdo, the youth publications divisions of leading French media company Groupe Le Monde. This is the third industry transaction that the firm has completed since it established a specific initative for pursuing media and entertainment deals less than a year ago. For this investment, OpenGate is partnering with French media industry veteran Jean Martial Lefranc, who will serve as CEO the the acquired companies.
OpenGate’s Founder and Managing Partner Andrew Nikou said, “OpenGate is executing on our strategy to buy and build media and entertainment companies with untapped potential. Fleurus Presse and Junior Hebdo are yet another example of how we move quickly to find and create high-value opportunities for our investors. These companies have the right ingredients – strong brands, a sticky revenue model and a leading position in the market – but have yet to fully leverage these assets. With a highly competent CEO working alongside OpenGate, we expect to deliver significant upside to our investors.”
OpenGate and Lefranc are experienced in digitizing and monetizing content and will collaborate to rapidly develop a digital presence for the companies’ leading magazine brands. In addition, the team will expand the companies’ merchandising and distribution opportunities by working with leading toy manufacturers and retailers. The transaction demonstrates the firm’s commitment to building it presence in Europe. Julien Lagrèze and Robert Lezec, senior partners in OpenGate’s European offices, led the transaction.
Lagrèze and Lezec added, “Given the entities’ wealth of content, scalability and untapped potential, Fleurus Presse and Junior Hebdo are exceptional additions to our media and entertainment portfolio. The companies are well established and respected in the French children’s publications sector. Our goal is to preserve the high quality of the editorial content while unlocking substantial value and revenue on the digital and merchandising fronts.”
The entities have a solid sales platform through distribution to the French pre-school and primary school systems, subscriptions and newsstands and they have been a pioneer in covermount products and product bundles. OpenGate expects to expand the brands’ content to appeal to children of all ages within the 1-to-16-year old segment. The firm will explore opportunities to broaden the media company’s reach into other countries, including an online presence.
“More and more children are interacting with content on the internet,” stated Lefranc, who also serves as publisher at L’Ecran Fantastique and CEO at Financière de Loisirs. “Our broad media industry and digital knowledge will enable us to accelerate plans for Fleurus Presse and Junior Hebdo to partner with leading youth internet content providers and broadcasters to bring this exceptional content to even more children through a variety of vehicles. We look forward to collaborating with OpenGate on these and other endeavors to build the companies.”
About Fleurus Presse and Junior Hebdo
Based in Paris, Fleurus Presse has produced high-quality magazines beloved by millions of French children aged 1-14 for more than 50 years. Its 12 leading children’s magazines in France include Abricot, Les P’tites Filles àla Vanille, Les P’tites Sorcières, Je lis déjà. To learn more, please visit its website at www.fleuruspresse.fr. Junior Hebdo is also a leading publisher of children’s magazines based in France.
About Jean-Martial Lefranc
Jean-Martial Lefranc is a media entrepreneur with a successful track record in movies, videogames and publishing. In 1993, Lefranc founded Financière de Loisirs, an entertainment and publishing company that produces the vaunted movie magazine “L’Ecran Fantastique.” In 1992, he founded and managed Cryo Interactive Entertainment, a leading French videogame publisher in which LVMH, the luxury powerhouse, was its main partner. Lefranc’s experience also includes co-founding TV6, the sixth broadcast television channel, and launching the Sega videogame brand in France. In addition, talented Lefranc has served as a director of a motion picture and a documentary for French Public Television, “Cyber Guerilla.”