News


ITV continues buying spree with £12.5m-plus Big Talk deal

UK broadcaster ITV has acquired 100% of Rev and Friday Night Dinner producer Big Talk Productions in a deal potentially worth an initial £12.5 million (US$19.2 million).

ITV has been stalking Big Talk for some time as it continues to aggressively beef up its production assets through acquisitions. The news follows deals in the last year for the likes of Hatfields & McCoys firm Thinkfactory Media, Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment and 24 Hours in A&E prodco The Garden.

Comedy specialist Big Talk has produced series including Him & Her, Black Books, Spaced, Threesome and Chickens, plus dramas such as Sky Arts’ A Young Doctor’s Notebook, which was recently renewed for a second season. It is also behind feature films The World’s End, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Paul and Attack the Block.

Actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who star in a number of Big Talk films, owned stakes in the company, alongside director Edgar Wright. BBC Worldwide had a 25% stake, while founder Nira Park, CEO Kenton Allen and managing director Michael Justice owned nearly two-thirds.

The initial cash consideration will be dependent on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance, but is expected to be around £12.5 million. This will be followed by further capped cash payments providing Big Talk creates “significant” profit growth over the next five years.

ITV said the multiple it paid was similar to the range paid for previous acquisitions.

Kevin Lygo, managing director of ITV’s production am ITV Studios, said: “Great comedy is an important part of the genre mix of broadcasters around the world and it’s fantastic that Big Talk is joining us. They have a brilliant track record in creating channel defining, returning scripted comedy and drama across many different channels, and they are also developing some fantastic new shows that have the potential to travel internationally.

“[ITV CEO] Adam Crozier, [ITV Studios UK managing director] Denise O’Donoghue and Kevin Lygo really impressed us with their vision for ITV Studios and we are incredibly excited about their passion for what Big Talk does best. This marks our next phase of delivering quality comedy and ambitious original drama as we push into the international marketplace and really show the world we can do.”

Recent reports have also suggested ITV is willing to pay around £90 million to acquire Scandinavian production group Nice Entertainment.