NBC Universal acquires UK indie Carnival

NBC Universal has acquired UK indie producer Carnival Film & Television, marking its first acquisition by its recently formed international production arm. Angela Bromstad, president international TV production at NBC said that her, co-CEO of NBC Entertainment Ben Silverman and Neame have already discussed a US network berth for an unnamed Carnival project.

NBC Universal has acquired 100% of Carnival, from Australian producer and distributor Southern Star, which previously owned 75%, and CEO Gareth Neame, who owned the remaining shares. NBC did not break out financial details but Southern Star said it will receive £20 million to £22 million for its stake. Carnival has turnover of about £20 million.

The Hollywood major set up a local production subsidiary in the UK last year and hopes to replicate its US studio model. This deal marks NBC’s first move into UK production. Carnival, which currently produces BBC drama Hotel Babylon and ITV medical drama Harley Street, will be merged into NBC Universal’s International TV Production division once the deal closes later this year.

NBC wants to double international revenues and has, Smith said, spent $700 million to date. He added that when he and Bromstad went through the international plans with NBC president and CEO Jeff Zucker they said they pitched a scripted drama version of Endemol. “That was the end game we described for five years out,” Smith said.

NBC will announce M&A deals in Russia and India soon, but Bromstad said a deal for UK super indie All3Media is not now in the offing.