Imagine Entertainment Strikes $100M TV Financing Venture With Hong Kong's TVB

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Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

Brian Grazer says the deal allows the firm to retain the rights to its IP, and Ron Howard says "we look forward to bringing more viewers around the world the unique, groundbreaking programs and content."

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment has struck a $100 million TV co-financing joint venture with TVB Venture, a unit of Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB), the companies announced on Wednesday. 

The company will use the financing "for the development and production of television projects." Imagine’s current hits include Empire for Fox and Genius for National Geographic Channel. Imagine is also currently working on the fifth season of Arrested Development, which was picked up by Netflix for 15 episodes.

TVB Venture will have broadcast and distribution rights in China, including Hong Kong and Macao, and Taiwan. The deal was orchestrated by CMC Holdings, an investor in Young Lion, which is TVB’s largest shareholder. 

The news of the venture comes amid recent signs that Chinese companies, such as Dalian Wanda Group, are pulling back from Hollywood investments as the Chinese government has looked to stop capital from flowing abroad.

"TVB is a proven leader in the television industry with broad capabilities in broadcasting, production and distribution," said Grazer. "We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with them and are excited about the opportunities this agreement provides for Imagine to invest in our own production and development while also retaining the rights to our IP."

Said Howard: “Together with TVB, we look forward to bringing more viewers around the world the unique, groundbreaking programs and content we feel so passionately about creating.”

"I'm incredibly excited by this partnership with TVB, which gives us a wide-ranging, global opportunity to expand the Imagine Television brand. This relationship provides us with a deep well of resources to do what we love most — to find, nurture and platform unique and gifted voices in television,” added Francie Calfo, president of Imagine Television. "This is a groundbreaking partnership, and TVB is the perfect international partner."

Charles Chan, chairman of TVB, said: “We could not have hoped for a more perfect collaboration than with Imagine Entertainment, a company that is at the forefront of TV programming. It will provide us with a new opportunity for cooperation with a leading film and TV production company in the U.S. With our strong distribution network, we can help bring TV programs produced under the joint venture to the vast markets in Greater China."

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