Fred Kogel, Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg to create independent German media company
- Wiedemann & Berg Film, one of the most successful German film production companies, to complement Tele München Gruppe, Universum Film and i&u TV
- As managing directors of Wiedemann & Berg Film, Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg will also take responsibility for feature film production division in Fred Kogel´s management team
- First stage of building the new company to be completed
Munich, 8 April 2019 – Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg’s Wiedemann & Berg Film (“W&B Film”) is among the leading film producers in Germany. Their first film “The Lives of Others” was awarded an Oscar for best foreign language film. Having produced very popular and award-winning titles such as “Men in the City”, “Friendship!”, “Vaterfreuden”, “Welcome to Germany”, “Who am I”, the two-time Oscar-nominated “Never Look Away” and currently “Goldfish”, they stand for great cinema. W&B Film will become a part of the independent media company backed by KKR, with the participation of Atwater Capital, LLC.
Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg, who will continue to lead W&B Film as managing directors, say: “We have been best friends for 35 years and founded our company 20 years ago. It is our great fortune to live our vision as producers together with outstanding creative people, a unique team and great partners. We are thankful for the wonderful films we stand for together. Now is the perfect time to enter a new phase of our vision. We will become part of an independent film studio and media company that we can build up with Fred Kogel. We will oversee the feature film production division. W&B Television, our joint venture with EndemolShine, will continue to run in parallel. We are very excited about this first step and the opportunities ahead of us.”
Talent factory with unique production expertise
“Our dream team is complete! I have known Max and Quirin for many years and admire them as producers and entrepreneurs. Few have mastered the art of filmmaking so well. Now, we will jointly realise national and international feature film productions and implement our idea of establishing an independent German media company, which has been based on a common concept from the very beginning,” says Fred Kogel, CEO of the new media company about the partnership.
Following the closing of all transactions, Tele München Gruppe, Universum Film, i&u TV and W&B Film will form an independent German film studio that covers the production, licensing and distribution across the entire value chain. The focus will be on inspiring viewers with high-quality content and being a partner for creative talents. The media company buys and produces feature films, series as well as TV shows in the future and will distribute this content to cinemas, digital services, home entertainment and TV channels. The company will also make use of market-leading license libraries. Its independence means that all customers can be served with high-quality content – digital streaming providers, Pay-TV partners as well as public and private television broadcasters.
First stage of development to be completed
Philipp Freise, Member and Head of the European Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry team at KKR, says: “We are very excited to successfully complete the first stage of our company development with Fred Kogel. Now, we will focus on combining the expertise and know-how of all four companies, Max’s & Quirin’s in particular, to create something truly innovative. Our goal has always been to build an entertainment house for audio-visual content, not just to buy individual companies.”
The management team led by CEO Fred Kogel is currently preparing for the operational start and further specification of future plans for the media company.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in June 2019. KKR is making its investment from its European Fund IV. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
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Wiedemann & Berg Film
Wiedemann & Berg Film
Phone: +49 89 452323–86
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR's investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR's website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
About Wiedemann & Berg Film
Already back in high school, Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg shared their passion for film. A few years later, while still students at the University of Television and Film in Munich, they founded Wiedemann & Berg Film. Since 2003 both have been sole shareholders and managing directors.
In 2010, Wiedemann & Berg Television was founded as a joint venture with EndemolShine.
The combination of cinema and TV, the focus on high-quality and commercial projects, pioneering spirit, a great team and the early recognition of and collaboration with outstanding creative people have made Wiedemann & Berg one of the most successful production companies in Germany.
As the third German film production ever, their first feature “The Lives of Others”, the directing debut of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, was awarded an Oscar® for best foreign language film. In the same constellation, they produced “Never Look Away”, which received two Academy Award nominations in 2019. Over the past years the company has successfully produced box office hits, such as Baran bo Odar’s hacking thriller “Who am I” and, amongst others, the comedies “Vaterfreuden” by Matthias Schweighöfer with almost 2.5 million tickets sold as well as Simon Verhoeven’s “Men in the City” with almost 2.3 million tickets sold and “Welcome to Germany” with almost 3.9 million tickets sold.
The producers as well as their productions have received numerous awards: Academy Award, Auszeichnung der Deutschen Akademie für Fernsehen, British Academy Film Award, German Bambi, Bavarian Television Awards, Bavarian Film Awards, César Award France, European Film Award, Hollywood Reporter Award, German Television Award, German Film Award, Fernsehfilmpreis der Deutschen Akademie der Darstellenden Künste, Golden Camera, Golden Nymph Award, German Grimme Award, GQ Award, LA Critics Award, Magnolia Award Shanghai, Mira Award, BANFF’s Rockie Award and Romy.