May 8th, 2024


Chairman of European production and distribution studio Vuelta Group Jerome Levy and CEO of SquareOne and Vuelta Group Germany Al Munteanu announce today the acquisition and integration of long-established German content house Telepool and subsidiaries from Westbrook Inc.

Munteanu will spearhead the newly combined entity under the SquareOne banner with Michael Heyd serving as CFO / COO.

The newly combined SquareOne entity will boast an impressive library consisting of over 1,200 titles such as Drive, Intouchables, The Olympus Has Fallen, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Imitation Game, Lone Survivor, Book Club. Transporter 3, King Richard, Maurice the Tomcat and the recently released One Life among others.

“For over 60 years, Telepool has been one of the leading global content houses and we are proud of the work we did with the company said Westbrook CEO Kosaku Yada. “We are grateful to Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann forher leadership over the past two years. Her respect from the creative community has been instrumental in Telepool’s success.”

The new and expanded company will be active across distribution and production. Says Munteanu, “the combined entity enables SquareOne to offer German speaking audiences a strong and varied slate of theatrical releases going forward, across multiple genres - from ‘smarthouse’, comedies, and actioners to high-end family entertainment: The Last Breath, Lords of War, Hellboy, Broker Homefront 2, and Bambi being the first out of the gate”.

Over the past year, SquareOne has focused its efforts on the expansion of its production’s activity under the SquareOne Productions banner with teams in Munich and London. The teams are active across local language as well as international television and theatrical films. The company boasts successes as the German, Italian, and French version of Your Honor, the Netflix and ORF co-production with Barry Films Totenfrau as well as SF Studios Coproduction for TV2/ZDF Oxen, now going into its second season.

Vuelta Group looks forward to collaborating further with Telepool´s talented international sales arm Global Screen. Today, Global Screen distributes premium feature films and TV series to audiences around the world. Its credits include animation sensations like The Amazing Maurice and Luis and the Aliens, dramas The Collini Case, The Conference, as well as School of Magical Animals. Current highlights include the WWII drama Stella - A Life, as well as the beloved canine adventure Lassie - A New Adventure.

Nicolas Brigaud Robert of Playtime highlights “I am excited to see the unique positioning of Global Screen work hand in hand with the know-how of the Playtime sales group to cover a larger spectrum of projects in acquisitions and increase our collective impact on the market" . Currently, Playtime and its subsidiaries have seven films premiering at the Cannes Film Festival with The Seed of the Sacred Fig by Mohammad Rasoulof (Films Boutique) in the Official Selection in Competition, both The Marching Band by Emmanuel Courcol and Meeting with Pol Pot by Rithy Panh in Cannes Premiere (Playtime), Black Dog by Guan Hu in Un Certain Regard (Playtime), Apprendre by Claire Simon in Special Screenings (Films Boutique), Animale by Emma Benestan in the Critics’ Week (Film Constellation) and Eephus by Carson Lund in the Directors’ Fortnight (Film Constellation).

Outside of Germany, the Vuelta Group is now present in Scandinavia with Scanbox, with recent success such as Past Lives, Civil War and local romantic comedy Rome; in France with Playtime and Pan, which has just released Un p’tit truc en plus the biggest opening in 2024 in France; in Italy with producer Indiana Productions with Confidenza  currently doing well in theatres and highly expected Il Gatopardo and Gianna Nannini Biopic Sei nell'Anima coming for Netflix later this year.

Former Telepool CEO Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann says, "I am proud of everything we achieved at Telepool. My sincere thanks go to my fantastic colleagues, our outstanding content partners and to Westbrook, with whom I have worked so productively. I wish the wonderful team of professionals and the new owners of the Vuelta Group Germany only the very best. I am convinced that Telepool will continue to be in the best hands."

Adds Westbrook´s EVP of Corporate Development, Ryan Ascencio: “We are happy to have found the right partner for Telepool with the Vuelta Group and wish them all the best as they continue their vision to expand their new and vibrant media powerhouse. We are eager to continue our collaboration on our projects going forward.”

Jerome Levy says: “This latest Vuelta Group acquisition is in line with our vision and strategy to create an integrated European studio, with the capacity to produce and distribute across multiple territories. Adds Munteanu: “The integration of Telepool will increase our presence in Germany as a major player across all aspects of distribution and production”. Levy concludes: “Germany is an important territory where we will keep investing through co-productions and acquisitions”.

Lazard acted as exclusive financial advisor to Westbrook and Telepool.

More information about the Vuelta Group: