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Zodiak closes RDF deal

Zodiak Entertainment has completed a deal for UK indie producer RDF, creating a TV group with annual revenues exceeding €500 million. RDF chief executive David Frank will head up the enlarged group as CEO. Lorenzo Pellicioli, CEO of Zodiak’s parent group DeAgostini, was previously CEO and chairman and will continue as chairman.

The deal leaves Zodiak 71% owned by acquisitive Italian media group DeAgostini with the remainder held by management, including RDF managers, and various funds that are managed by Cyrte, the investment company founded to manage John de Mol’s fortune.

Rumours that Zodiak was in discussions to buy RDF surfaced in January and all concerned have been working on a deal since then.

Zodiak Entertainment comprises various production and distribution brands including Marathon, Magnolia, Diverse and Jarowskij. Its sales arms are based in Paris and London. A review is understood to be taking place to identify and eliminate areas of overlap with job losses expected to follow.

Zodiak was already a shareholder in RDF having bought in, in late 2008. RDF is one of the UK’s largest indie producers and distributors. Management and investors, including Endemol founder John de Mol, bought the company for £52 million in November 2008.The Zodiak deal values it at about three times that amount.