Madman sale closed

31 July, 2014 by Don Groves

Madman Entertainment co-founders Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard have vowed to grow the business after completing a management-led buy-out.

The deal with toy, clothing and confectionery company Funtastic, which bought the distributor for $34.5 million in 2006, was sealed on Thursday.


A consortium of investors led by the co-founders and trading as Madman Film and Media Pty Ltd paid $21.5 million.

The other shareholders are Brett Chenoweth, the former CEO of APN News & Media who was general manager/VP of Village Roadshow Pictures and head of business development for ninemsn in the 1990s; Charbel Nader, an investment banker who is chairman of Metro Media Publishing; and Adrian McKenzie, the former CVC Asia Pacific managing partner who led the buyout of the Nine Network from PBL. 

"These guys bring a great web of contacts and experience," Wiegard told IF. "We had autonomy at Funtastic but we had financial constraints. Being a media and content company provides us with a better platform for growth."

In March Funtastic announced it had received two expressions of interest to buy Madman and revealed it would likely incur an impairment charge of $22 million- $28 million on the sale.

On Friday Funtastic told the ASX the proceeds would be used to repay debt and it would take a further write-down of $5 million- $5.5 million.

“For Madman, it means restored independence, strong financial backing and the opportunity for exciting growth and innovation,” Anderson and Wiegard said in a note to staff and industry partners.

“We love the content and the partners we represent with a geek-like zeal, so we will continue to grow and strengthen that part of our business, both through traditional distribution as well as emerging channels.”

They described AnimeLab, a VoD service developed in-house which launched a month ago, as “just the beginning of an amazing new direction for Madman.” Streaming anime and hits simulcast from Japan in HD encompassing 65 series and 700 hours of content, the service is free with no ads initially. Wiegard says he is looking at introducing different models including Subscription VOD down the track.

The MDs stressed their commitment to producing original content, currently with the documentary That Sugar Film and the sci-fi series Wastelander Panda commissioned by ABC iview.  

Madman’s The Trip to Italy is a box-office hit, grossing $2.8 million, and the distributor has just opened Danish thriller The Keeper of Lost Causes in partnership with SBS.