Mediawan was incorporated in December 2015 as a Special Purpose Acquisition Company(SPAC) for the purpose of acquiring one or more operating businesses or companies in the traditional and digital media content and entertainment industries in Europe.The Company was formed by Pierre- Antoine Capton, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, and raised €250 million in April 2016 from an initial public offering on the regulated market of Euronext Paris.
In March 2017, Mediawan acquired Groupe AB and became present in the content and media industries. Founded in 1977, Groupe AB is a leading independent editor, producer and distributor of audiovisual content in French-speaking Europe. It is primarily involved in producing and distributing series, television movies, cartoons and documentaries and in editing TV channels and bundled digital services.
The group has a portfolio of 19 channels, widely distributed in Frenchspeaking Europe and Africa. Groupe AB is one of the largest and most diversified content managers in France, with about 12,000 hours of programming in library and internal production of about 80 hours per year. In 2016, Groupe AB achieved adjusted revenues and EBITDA of, respectively, €160m and €37m.
After a few years spent in TV studios, Pierre-Antoine Capton decided to launch his own TV production company in 2001.
Fifteen years later, Groupe Troisieme Oeil has become the first French independent producer of shows.
It marks itself out on this competitive market by producing top quality shows such as C à Vous, leader on prime access every evening, Les Carnets de Julie, Des Racines et des Ailes or, more recently, the “Emmanuel Macron: Behind the Rise » documentary, which followed the french president during his campaign and was broadcasted on a french national channel on prime time before being bought by Netflix.
Watching the media market concentration and convinced that quality of contents is the key to success and will draw the future of the audiovisual sector, he partnered with Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse in 2016 in order to create Mediawan.
The company’s IPO in 2017 was a great success.
Mediawan, with Pierre-Antoine at its head, now focuses on gathering together the best companies with the best talents and the best contents in order to take the lead on European market.
Xavier Niel is the founder and majority shareholder of the Iliad group, which owns leading French convergent telecom operator, Free. He currently serves as Senior Vice-President, director and Deputy-Chairman of the Board of Directors.
He is a self-taught entrepreneur and has been active in the data communications, Internet and telecommunications industry since the late 1980s. Prior to devoting himself to the Iliad group development, in 1993 he co-founded France’s first Internet service provider (ISP), Worldnet. Subsequently, after founding 3617 ANNU, the leading reverse look-up directory service on Minitel, in 1999 he went on to create Free – France’s first free-access ISP.
Xavier Niel was the architect behind the 2002 launch of the Freebox – the first multi-services box providing households with access to a triple play offering (Internet, telephone and television). He has also been the inspiration behind the group’s major strategic developments, including its current rollout of the 4G mobile network in France and its mobile offerings which were launched on January 10, 2012. The strategy of the Iliad group proved successful as (i) its total number of subscribers increased from 10.6 million in December 2012 to 17.8 million in December 2015, thus representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% over the period, and (ii) in the long-time oligopoly environment of French mobile operators, Free Mobile’s market share grew from 0% in 2011 to 17% in December 2015.
In parallel, for many years Xavier Niel has invested considerably in web start-ups. In March 2010 he set up his own investment fund, Kima Ventures, one of the world’s most active early-stage investors, which invests in 50 to 100 start-ups a year throughout the world. In addition, since 2010 he has held an ownership interest in the Le Monde newspaper, alongside Mr. Pierre Bergé and Mr. Matthieu Pigasse. Since summer 2014, Mr. Xavier Niel, Mr. Pierre Bergé and Mr. Matthieu Pigasse have also been the joint owners of the French weekly magazine L’Obs.
In March 2013, Mr. Niel created “42” – a revolutionary IT school which strives to train large numbers of computer specialists required by innovative companies. 42 is based on the “peer-to-peer learning” strategy and offers free training, which is open to all 18 to 30 year-olds. In September 2013, Xavier Niel announced the opening in early 2017 of the world’s largest start-up digital incubator – “1000 start-ups @la Halle Freyssinet” – which will be located in the Halle Freyssinet building in Paris.
Mr. Niel has also invested in the telecommunications sector for many years in a personal capacity through NJJ Holding. He acquired a 55% stake in Monaco Telecom in 2014 and Orange Switzerland (now renamed Salt) in February 2015.
Mr. Matthieu Pigasse, who currently serves as Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions and Sovereign Advisory of Lazard Group and CEO of Lazard France, has developed a strong financial expertise and worked on the largest transactions led by the Lazard Group in recent years.
Through his personal investments, Matthieu Pigasse developed a deep understanding of the media sector. In 2009, he purchased the magazine Les Inrockuptibles of which he is chairman of the board of directors. Along with Mr. Pierre Bergé and Mr. Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse became co-owner of the newspaper Le Monde in 2010 and of the French weekly magazine L’Obs in 2014. In 2012, he launched the French edition of the “Huffington Post” website. In 2015, he acquired Radio Nova. He is also a significant shareholder in a number of other media like Melty Group and VICE France. In 2015, he was appointed Chairman of one of the largest rock festival in Europe: Les Eurockéennes de Belfort, gathering over 100,000 people every summer.
Mr. Pigasse was also Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s technical adviser in 1998 before joining, one year later, Laurent Fabius’ cabinet as a financial and industrial advisor. As a former Chief of Staff of the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Matthieu Pigasse has an intimate knowledge of the public sector as well as the European Regulations.