Blue Ant Media has acquired Toronto’s Saloon Media, the boutique producer founded by Michael Kot in 2013.
The deal marks what Sam Sniderman, Blue Ant’s EVP global production, calls a “crucial” addition to Blue Ant’s portfolio. The broadcaster, producer and distributor has been snapping up production companies around the world – including New Zealand’s NHNZ, Singapore’s Beach House Pictures, London’s Antenna Pictures, LA-based Blue Ant Digital Studios (formerly the production arm of Omnia Media), Toronto animation house Look Mom! Productions and Northern Pictures in Australia – but this is its first play at scale in the Canadian production space. (Blue Ant commissions series for its channels, and previously had an in-house content unit that serviced Love Nature and Makeful.)
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, all four of Saloon Media’s core executives will remain with the company, including Saloon CEO Kot (pictured), executive producers Steve Gamester and Paul Kilback and head of production Betty Orr. No layoffs are planned as the companies merge; to the contrary, Kot says Saloon will be hiring as the company’s production slate expands.
Following its launch in 2013, Saloon quickly made a name for itself in the factual space, with Kot bringing his years of experience to the genre from his previous roles as a senior factual executive at eOne, Canwest and Alliance Atlantis. By 2014, the company had three successful series underway: Tornado Hunters for CMT (which started as a webseries and turned into a 10-episode linear order), See No Evil, a returning series coproduced with the UK’s Arrow Media for Discovery ID U.S., and six-part UK-Canada copro Mummies Alive for History in Canada, Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and Yesterday in the UK. Since then, it has produced 2017′s 8 x 60-min Hunting Nazi Treasure for American Heroes Channel, History in Canada and the UK’s More4 and service work on series including six-part miniseries The Kennedys for CNN and Raw TV.