Newen Group, the French production and distribution business behind Versailles, has launched a £42m (€50m) Investment Fund focused on acquiring UK drama.

Its international distribution business, Newen Distribution, will invest in high-end scripted series from UK production companies through the fund with the aim of building a strong presence in English-speaking content.

Newen Distribution said it is actively looking to make significant investments to support producer’s projects from early development to deficit funding.

It is seeking to partner on three to four scripted series, both returning and mini-series.

Newen is part of leading French media group TF1. Its credits include new Netflix commission Osmosis, Emmy winner Spiral and Witnesses.

Newen’s announcement comes as huge sums of money are now pouring into the high-end drama market. BBC Worldwide and European financier Anton recently unveiled a £150m drama fund, while Sky and HBO announced a $250m drama partnership.

Julien Leroux has been appointed as Newen’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Content Development.

Malika Abdellaoui, Managing Director of Newen Distribution, said: “We all know the challenges distributors face in funding the best drama in the UK market. We believe that it is the perfect time to be proactive in the UK, offering producers cash at an early stage, rapid decision-making and privileged access to major Continental European markets, as well as our strong worldwide trading relationships.”

Newen Distribution has also established an Advisory Board, with senior media execs including Fabrice Larue, Christian Schlumberger, Nadine Nohr, Rod Henwood and Antoine Dresch.

Fabrice Larue, CEO and Chairman of Newen Group, said: “Our ambition is to have a global presence, co-producing or co-financing the best internationally-focused series. By offering high-quality content from the UK, our goal is to reinforce our presence in the international market. We are very excited by the wealth of opportunities that exist and the partnerships that we can create supported by our great team and our new Advisory Board.”

Staff Reporter

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