Airey eyes 12 Yard as first ITV buy

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LONDON -- ITV Prods. is poised to acquire quiz show maker 12 Yard Prods. in a 35 million pound ($72 million) deal that would mark Dawn Airey's first acquisition since taking the helm of ITV's in-house production division, sources said Wednesday.

Airey has a 200 million pound ($411.4 million) acquisitions fund to build up ITV's production base, and formally took up the ITV post in October. The former BSkyB head of networks has been charged by ITV executive chairman Michael Grade with upping the amount of content her division makes for ITV's own channels from about 55% to 75% of the content they air.

12 Yard, which makes long-running daytime quiz shows including "Eggheads" and "In It to Win It," would be an unusual choice for Airey because it produces the majority of its output for the BBC, and is thought to be tied into a number of long-term contracts with the pubcaster.

The venture was founded in 2001 by former BBC light entertainment executive David Wood, creator of "The Weakest Link."

ITV did not return calls seeking comment.
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