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Marathon finds Famous Five

French producer and distributor Marathon expects to be able to beef up its online and licensing and merchandising departments, having been bought by acquisitive Italian media group De Agostini.

The deal, announced in July, is not expected to hugely impact the everyday business of Marathon, but the French company will be able to increase its activities in certain areas and will likely advise its new parent on any French deals.

Asked about the De Agostini deal, David Michel, managing director at Marathon Media, says: “It’s not affecting our day-to-day operations. De Agostini is proposing to build a larger entity and become the second European Endemol. But there is a lot of independence at country level, we will remain very independent.”

He adds: “You may see two things happen, more acquisitions and we will develop some departments – licensing and merchandising and online.”

Marathon arrives at this year’s MIPCOM with The Famous Five in tow. The first episodes of the 26x22mins comedy adventure will be ready to show buyers in Cannes. It will be interesting to monitor sales given that the Enid Blyton kids books, which she started writing in the 1940s, are well known in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada but not throughout the rest of the world. The series is being produced with UK-based Chorion for Disney Europe, Super RTL and France 3 is also on board.

The other new property for Marathon at Mipcom is Monster Buster Club, which is in production. Michel says the animation quality is “almost theatrical”.