Anthem Sports & Entertainment has acquired Gravitas Ventures’ 3,000-title content library from ProSieben’s Red Arrow Studios for $73 million in cash.
The transaction also includes an undisclosed amount of Anthem stock. The Toronto-based media company headed by longtime Canwest TV executive Leonard Asper plans to use the range of documentaries and narrative movies in the Gravitas vault to fuel new free ad-support streaming TV channels, which offer content owners a ready path to monetize movie and TV libraries.
Gravitas’ recent releases include the ensemble comedy “Queen Bees” toplined by Ellen Burstyn and James Caan. Anthem also owns the AXS TV, HD Net and Pursuit TV channels as well as the Impact Wrestling franchises. All told, the Gravitas
Based in Cleveland, Gravitas has acquired and released a wide range of movies since its launch more than 15 years ago. The company’s top executives will join Anthem Sports’ executive roster, including Gravitas founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher, president Michael Murphy, Brendan Gallagher, executive vice president and general counsel, and CFO Brian Kenyon. Anthem said the Gravitas Ventures organization itself will “remain intact.”
“This is a significant step forward for Anthem in its mission to build a next-generation media company that is primed for the digital future, keeping Anthem ahead of the curve with the current trajectory of the fast-paced streaming-first entertainment ecosystem,” said Asper. “Gravitas is a world leader in film and documentary distribution and provides Anthem with a major presence across the top digital platforms. We are happy to welcome Nolan, Michael, Brendan, Brian and the Gravitas team on board, and to broaden our shareholder base to include Gravitas Ventures’ management and Red Arrow Studios.”
ProSieben’s Red Arrow production arm acquired Gravitas in 2017. Anthem Sports’ acquisition is a sign that the Toronto-based company launched in 2011 aims to be a larger player in the lifestyle content arena.
“Anthem perfectly complements Gravitas Ventures’ mindset and mission, presenting several major platforms where our films can thrive while opening up dynamic new areas and opportunities that will be vital in helping our company grow,” said Gravitas’ Gallagher. “They have had tremendous success with all of their acquired properties, taking a hands-on approach that shows a great understanding for their unique products and what it takes to keep them on top in this highly competitive industry.”
Progress Partners served as M&A advisor to Anthem Sports.
(Pictured: “Queen Bees”)