Federation buys into Michel’s Cottonwood

Emerging French indie Federation Entertainment is acquiring a significant shareholding in compatriot Cottonwood Media, a move that reunites former Zodiak executive pair Pascal Breton and David Michel.

David MichelThe agreement sees Cottonwood co-founder Michel become a founding partner in Federation and head of kids and family programmes and sales, with Breton’s Federation becoming a key Cottonwood shareholder.

Michel will continue as president of Cottonwood and retain a key shareholding in the business, along with co-founders Zoé Z. Carrera and Cécile Lauritano.

Financial terms of the deal, which is understood to be close to completion, have not not disclosed.

Michel exited his post as managing director of Zodiak-owned Marathon Media in 2013 and subsequently launched Cottonwood, which in recent weeks has placed The Ollie & Moon Show with Sprout NBC and Squish with French kidscaster Gulli.

He had positioned Cottonwood as a nimble small-sized indie with a focus on premium programming, a trait similar to Federation’s strategy.

Pascal-BretonAt Zodiak, Michel worked with Breton, who was head of Marathon media sister prodco Marathon Studios.

Federation first made headlines by becoming the first French studio to produce a show for Netflix, in the shape of upcoming political thriller drama Marseille.

“David was at the heart of some of Marathon’s biggest hits and has become one of the most respected producers of children’s content today,” said Breton. “He joins Federation with an impressive slate of projects ranging from live-action fiction to animation.”

“We both share the same vision of a media world wherein producing premium content for digital platforms and major North American and European clients is key,” added Michel.

“This vision requires capital, ambition, and most importantly an investment in high-end creators’ ideas and properties. Cottonwood joining Federation is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop this vision with the financial and strategic backing of a great partner.”

Various France-based former Zodiak executives have launched indies since exiting. Philipppe Alessandri, the ex-Télé Images Productions boss, this year created Watch Next Media.