Asacha Buys ‘Magic Of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’ Maker Arrow International Media


European consolidator Asacha Media Group has acquired a majority stake in Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom producer Arrow International Media.

This marks the second UK-based factual group to join Asacha’s ranks following a 2021 deal for Wag Entertainment.

We hear Arrow had been on the block for some time and the deal is likely to value the company in the low eight-figure range. Under terms of the agreement, Arrow bosses Tom Brisley and Iain Pelling will remain as co-Managing Directors, while John Smithson will step back.

Brisley and Pelling will retain a minority stake in Arrow, similar to the structure of Asacha’s previous acquisitions. Brisley will become an Asacha shareholder, alongside the business’ founders and other subsidiary bosses. Smithson, who previously co-founded Darlow Smithson Productions, will deliver his current projects and then work independently, with Arrow and Asacha having a first look at his new projects.

The trio founded Arrow in 2011 and has become of the UK’s main indie suppliers of true crime programming and currently makes around 100 hours a year across genres such as history, nature, adventure and science. Its currently slate includes Investigation Discovery shows See No Evil and American Monster, Disney+ and Nat Geo’s Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the BBC’s Seven Days on Mars.

The deal comes at an interesting time for Asacha. We hear its founders and majority shareholder Oaktree Capital Management have jointly asked London-based financial advisor to assess refinancing options, with a potential change in shareholders possible. Asacha is profitable, sources close to the privately-owned company tell us, and has been expanding through deals such as today’s deal for Arrow.

Asacha has financed the Arrow acquisition through a mix of equity from existing shareholders and debt financing from Tikehau Capital.

“Asacha is one of the hottest groups in the TV industry. They are dynamic and fleet of foot, with excellent relationships across Europe, a market we would love to explore further, as well as having huge international ambitions,” said Brisley.

“With the same culture and high-quality delivery as Arrow, the access they give us into new markets makes them the perfect partner. Becoming part of an independent group allows Arrow the freedom to continue to work for anyone, anywhere and everywhere. We are thrilled to be joining forces with Asacha. They match our ambitions and our understanding of Arrow’s global potential.”

“Arrow’s market-leading position in the fast-growing factual space, along with their strong leadership and ambitious plans for the future, make them an ideal fit for Asacha,” said Asacha co-CEOs Gaspard de Chavagnac and Marina Williams.

“Bringing them into our group makes us a major player in English language factual across key markets including the US and UK. Our focus will be accelerating Arrow’s growth and extending their reach into new territories as they build on their reputation for world-class series and features that captivate global audiences.”

Asacha launched in 2020 with backing from U.S.-based Oaktree Capital Management. Reports this week have suggested Oaktree has engaged London-based financial advisory Lazard to explore new funding alternatives.

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