CPPIB-backed eOne acquires Audio Network for $215 mln

Entertainment One (eOne) has acquired Audio Network Ltd, a London-based creator and publisher of music for use in film, television, advertising and digital media.

The purchase price was about US$215 million ($286 million).

EOne, a Toronto-based entertainment content studio, said the acquisition will add to its capabilities as a music brand.

EOne is a portfolio company of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). In 2015, CPPIB acquired a minority interest from Marwyn Investment Management for $290 million.

Audio Network was backed by Stripes Group, a U.S. growth equity firm.

PRESS RELEASE

Entertainment One to Acquire Audio Network

Building on eOne’s talent-driven strategy and further powering the Group’s true end-to-end entertainment capabilities

Transaction to add 150,000+ tracks across all genres to eOne’s catalogue

London/Los Angeles – April 11, 2019 – Entertainment One (eOne) today announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of UK-based Audio Network Limited (Audio Network), one of the world’s largest independent creators and publishers of original high-quality music for use in film, television, advertising and digital media, for approximately US$215 million. The transaction locks eOne’s position as a leading end-to-end global independent music brand. The announcement was made by eOne’s President and CEO Darren Throop, with Global President, Music Chris Taylor, and alongside Audio Network’s Founder & Chairman Andrew Sunnucks and CEO Robb Smith.

The acquisition brings together two organizations that share a commitment to being both artist-first and platform-agnostic. With nine offices and teams around the world, Audio Network brings trusted relationships with more than 1000 composers, singer-songwriters and emerging commercial artists to eOne, to benefit from the Group’s rich traditional record label services and extensive film, television and brand capabilities.

The addition of Audio Network further enriches eOne’s integrated partner offering and full-scope capabilities, generating more monetization opportunities for eOne commercial artists through relationship-based sync placements.

“As we continue to unlock the power and value of creativity for artists, we are very pleased to welcome Audio Network, whose passionate management team and ambition align entirely with ours. The combination of eOne’s front-end commercial artist catalogue and Audio Network’s extensive premium production music creates a one-stop solution for business customers seeking high-quality music,” said Throop. “Andrew, Robb and their brilliant team with decades of industry experience have built an unparalleled global sync company and eOne’s capabilities across Music will be significantly bolstered by Audio Network’s impressive scale and roster of artists, composers and catalogue. We are looking forward to working alongside them through their next phase of growth,” added Taylor.

Founded in 2001 by Robert Hurst and Andrew Sunnucks, through a creatively-led and data-informed model, Audio Network has emerged as a true industry leader. Using their proprietary cutting-edge technology and dedicated customer service, Audio Network music is featured in high-end television and advertising productions through to user-generated content on digital and social platforms, with customers spanning across TV broadcast, advertising, digital media and enterprise industries. In addition to their expansive catalogue of over 150,000 fully-owned tracks, Audio Network new album releases continue to increase, spanning all music genres.

“Our relationships with artists and composers have been at the heart of our business from the very start. In joining eOne, we are becoming part of an incredible global entertainment family and will have the continued opportunity to create and record the world’s best music and share it globally,” said Sunnucks. “Their platform-agnostic content strategy, combined with an alignment of culture, values and vision for the future of the business, make eOne an ideal partner for our teams around the world,” added Smith. “This is going to be game-changing.”

As Audio Network becomes part of eOne’s group of Music and Live companies under the leadership of Taylor, the company will continue to operate with the team and brand that has seen it emerge as an industry leader over many years. Following the transaction, Sunnucks will continue to play a significant role at Audio Network, in the capacity of Chairman, and the existing executive management team under Smith will remain in place.

Note to the editor:

A team led by Rebecca Bothamley and Robert Hamill at Mayer Brown LLP with support from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP provided legal counsel on the transaction for eOne. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. provided financing for the transaction and Milbank LLP advised eOne on the financing. Audio Network Limited was advised by Jefferies International Limited on the transaction with Taylor Wessing LLP providing legal counsel.

About Entertainment One

Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specialises in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales; family programming, merchandising and licensing; digital content; and live entertainment. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.

Entertainment One’s robust network includes international feature film distribution company Sierra/Affinity; Amblin Partners with DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; Makeready with Brad Weston; unscripted television production companies Whizz Kid Entertainment and Renegade 83; live entertainment leaders Round Room Entertainment; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning emerging content and technology studio Secret Location.