Cologne, Germany - France's Studiocanal has taken a majority stake in boutique TV production/sales operation Tandem Communications, the Munich-based outfit behind the Emmy-nominated miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and its upcoming sequel World Without End.
The deal, which closed shortly before New Year's, according to The Hollywood Reporter , gives Studiocanal an initial 51 percent stake in Tandem with an option to increase its share at a later date. Both sides declined to discuss financial details of the deal.
For the French media company, the Tandem acquisition marks stage two of its plans to set up a European version of the Hollywood major studio.
"This is not a financial move by us, but part of our strategy to create a European studio," said Studiocanal CEO chairman and CEO Olivier Courson. "Tandem is the best partner for us in Europe in our goal to produce high profile and high quality television series that will appeal both within Europe and to the rest of the world."
Tandem is an established player in the high-end television scene with Pillars, World Without End and the upcoming fantasy mini-series Labyrinth, all of which Tandem produced together with Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Labyrinth, which just wrapped principle photography, features Game of Thrones’ Emun Elliot, Downtown Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Potter alum Tom Felton and John Hurt.
Tandem president and partner Rola Bauer stated that with Studiocanal the boutique company "can move to the next level: producing one-hour drama series."
Tandem has several one-hour series in development, among them a sci-fi crime serial, The Sector, which initially was set up with Cinemax before HBO's sister channel passed on the series.
French pay-TV group Canal +, a sister company to Studiocanal, is also moving into drama series production, recently with the papal melodrama Borgia, starring John Doman.
"We will work with Canal + on a project-by-project basis, seeing where it makes sense," said Courson.
Studiocanal already has film production and distribution operations in France, Germany and the U.K.
Recent feature productions include Gary Oldman/Colin Firth starrer Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and actioner Special Forces with Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou. Studiocanal recently secured a €150 ($205 million) slate financing deal with London-based fund Anton Capital Entertainment, the first time a European studio has used such a money model. Studiocanal has also signed an output deal with Netflix competitor Lovefilm in the U.K. and Germany to expand into the VOD space.