SimsalaGrimm, the famed German-Austrian television series was created from 1999 to 2010 and became Germany’s most sold animated TV series ever, being broadcast in more than 100 countries. Argo Venture ́s Stefan Beiten and Nikolaus Weil not only raised and structured an equity debt financing with a total volume of € 10 m – for Arg ́s subsidiary Greenlight Film, they also came up with the idea for and produced SimsalaGrimm. Inspired by their children, they took universally beloved classical fairy tales from various notable authors, introduced new characters to supply a central theme and thus tied the stories together. The rest is history.
Public funds accounted for a mere 11 % of the € 10 m, with the NDR (North German Broadcasting) backing another 17 %. The remainder of the all-German financing was based on a significant amount of equity and presales.
This landmark project is a perfect example of the solution-oriented and innovative team’s one-stop-shop approach comprising financing, production and licensing. It was the first-ever big GAP financing project structured with a bank in Germany. Even though similar models were rather common in the real estate sector, this kind of bridge financing had never before been utilized in the film industry. In borrowing the idea and in collaboration with Munich-based private bank Reuschel & Co, a subsidiary of Dresdner Bank, Argo Ventures created a blueprint for film production financing and German banks.
Beiten and Weil are key figures at both Argo Ventures and the independent, international film production company Greenlight Film. While the former provides financial advisory and structured finance services across a broad range of industries with a special focus on and in-depth expertise in the film production sector, Greenlight is the operative company that handles production and licensing.