Tinopolis buys Top Chef producer

The Tinopolis Group has paid an undisclosed multi-million dollar sum for Magical Elves, the US-based producer behind Top Chef and Braxton Family Values.

No exact figure was put on the deal, which is the latest example of international production companies buying into the US’s bank of unscripted prodcos.

Magical Elves now sits in a stable of international producers owned by the UK’s Tinopolis comprising A Smith & Co., BASE Productions and Tollbooth Group from the US; sports producer Sunset+Vine; and Gypsy Weddings producer Firecracker Films, drama producer Daybreak, factual specialist Mentorn Media, doc prodco Pioneer Productions and Tinopolis Wales/Cymru from the UK.

Thirteen year-old Magical Elves has built up a reputation as a solid US unscripted producer under the leadership of Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, who now become shareholders in Tinopolis. Besides the Top Chef franchise, it has produced Project Runway, Cold Justice, Time of Death, Tamar & Vince and The Real L Word.

For Tinopolis – which alongside ITV Studios, Argonon, All3Media, FremantleMedia, Endemol and Red Arrow International, form a group of European companies that have been buying into the US – the acquisition will help it reach gross revenues for this calendar year of more than US$225 million, the firm claimed.

“Tinopolis has a clear strategy to continue building an international media business with a strong and diversified revenue base, producing quality programmes in its home territories for the world-wide market,” said Ron Jones, chairman of the Tinopolis Group. “This is another important acquisition for us, strengthening our commitment to US-based production.”

Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves said: “We’re very proud of the company we’ve built over the last 11 years and today’s announcement marks the next stage of growth and development for us.”