PARIS, FRANCE: Banijay today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Balich Wonder Studio.
Building a stand-out, global media and entertainment powerhouse, the deal will combine the strengths of the established world-renowned content group, with the pioneering capabilities of the live entertainment player.
Having already bolstered its position as a leading content powerhouse, Banijay has over the years nurtured a creative footprint spanning 21 territories and playing home to 130 labels. In this latest phase of transformative growth, it will unite the creative and commercial strengths of two unique companies to build a differentiated offering in the media and entertainment space.
Founded in 2013, Milan-based Balich Wonder Studio is a creative player which has quickly grown to be a prestigious live event creator and service provider, tapping into a broad range of institutional ceremonies, brand and destination experiences.
Firmly on the map globally as a leading reference and go-to for premium live entertainment events, it is credited for the organisation of the highest number of Olympic Games Ceremonies in the world and other prestigious events such as the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup; Pan American Games Ceremonies in Perù 2019 and Chile 2023; 2016 Rio Olympic Games Ceremonies (CC2016); and 2014 Sochi Olympic Games closing and Paralympic Games Ceremonies.
Additionally, it has delivered a range of exclusive events for top brands including Louis Vuitton, Formula 1, Ferrari, Dolce & Gabbana, UEFA, MSC, Maserati, Bulgari, IWC, Azimut Benetti and many others. Balich Wonder Studio posted revenues of €315m in 2022.
The deal will bring together the creative strengths of Banijay’s global talent collective, led by CEO Marco Bassetti, with the proven expertise of Balich Wonder Studio’s leading live entertainment team, led by its founders Marco Balich, Gianmaria Serra and Simone Merico, the CEO Stefano Core, and Carolina Dotti and Valentina Saluzzi, partner and luxury experts. A complementary union, the transaction will signal a new era and further growth for both businesses.
Marco Bassetti, Chief Executive Officer Banijay: “Complementary to us in its ambition and entrepreneurialism, Balich has risen to be top of its game in the live-event space, and via this acquisition, there is huge potential for further pioneering growth.
We feel fortunate the team chose to partner with us on this trailblazing move and can already see how together we can build additional creative and commercial synergies, to cement the collective as a media and entertainment powerhouse.
In marrying our businesses, we will create a unique universe of globally-spanning premium content, and the world’s most-watched ceremonies and illustrious events – ultimately, a one-stop-shop for creativity.”
Marco Balich, Chairman Balich Wonder Studio: “We are glad that a world-class player like Banijay has chosen a committed creative team with the ambition to become the world’s most prestigious live entertainment group. Together we feel empowered to accelerate this journey.
We share the passion for creativity, the ability to create exceptional content and spread emotions, culture, and beauty as pillars for a better world. Today, after ten years of extraordinary growth, we look forward to an exciting future and we are happy to continue inspiring wonder around the world”.
As a creative studio, the live entertainment group has also been involved in a number of public destination developments, creating resident and water shows, immersive experiences and landmark icons like the symbol of World Expo – the celebrated “Tree of Life”, and the ‘Whale Shark’, a 30-metre symbol suspended in Doha in 2022 to represent the country’s focus on preserving its natural environment.
Balich Wonder Studio’s healthy portfolio of successful businesses includes two brands, with operating offices in Europe and the Middle East, which is one the fastest growing and most important markets for the high-end event management industry.
At the forefront of innovation, the ESG-committed live event specialist has swiftly grown both its offering and its footprint, and with Banijay, is now poised for further creative expansion.
The acquisition remains subject to customary closing conditions and is anticipated to close in the coming months.