ITV to Acquire 'The Voice' Producer Talpa for up to $1.17 Billion

Courtesy of NBC

Dutch media mogul John de Mol, who also created 'Big Brother,' put the company on the auction block last year.

U.K. TV giant ITV has agreed to acquire The Voice producer Talpa Media, the Dutch production company created by John de Mol, for up to $1.17 billion.‎

The initial payment will be $530 million, with further payments depending on financial performance and de Mol's continued involvement. "This total is contingent on Talpa continuing to deliver significant profit growth over an eight-year period as well as John de Mol’s continued commitment to the business during this time," ITV said.

ITV said the deal, expected to close during the second quarter subject to regulatory approval, will add to earnings from day one and is expected to accelerate ITV Studios’ growth internationally.

ITV, whose flagship network is the U.K. home of X Factor and Downton Abbey, has been expanding its ITV Studios unit to become less reliant on advertising revenue. In recent years it has acquired such U.S. companies as Gurney Productions, the company behind Duck Dynasty; Real Housewives of New Jersey producer Leftfield; Cake Boss maker High Noon Entertainment; Hatfields & McCoys producer Thinkfactory Media and Teen Wolf's DiGa Vision.

"The acquisition is a further milestone in the company’s strategy of building an international content business that creates and owns entertainment formats and dramas that sell internationally, and significantly strengthens ITV’s position as a leading producer in Europe," ITV said.

CEO Adam Crozier said: "Great content is at the heart of ITV’s growth strategy, and the acquisition of Talpa builds on the success of our international content business and is absolutely in line with our desire to create and own formats that travel." He added: "This is a great opportunity for ITV to accelerate its progress in building a global content business of scale."

De Mol, also known as the man who created reality juggernaut Big Brother, put Talpa on the auction block last year. The company's other shows include Utopia, The Winner Is, I Love My Country and Dating In The Dark. De Mol had founded it in 2005. ITV recently confirmed exclusive takeover talks.

Dutch mogul de Mol has had 100 percent control of the company and will continue to work at Talpa. "John de Mol, together with his senior management and creatives, will continue to play a key role in format creation and development to maintain Talpa’s strong creative pipeline, working exclusively for Talpa alongside ITV Studios managing director Kevin Lygo and his team," ITV said.

De Mol said: "Of all the potential partners for Talpa, there’s no doubt ITV is the best fit. When it comes to the importance of content, the strategy of both successful companies is exactly the same, and for Talpa this represents a fantastic opportunity for strong further growth. It also enables me personally to concentrate and focus even more on creating new, groundbreaking content."

Talpa generated $247 million (€233 million) in revenue from productions, format fees and new revenue sources in 2014, with earnings before interest, taxes and amortization coming in at $65 million (€61 million).

Sources had previously spoken of a price tag of $675 million-$785 million (€600 million-€700 million) that Talpa could fetch, while initial reports had mentioned De Mol was looking for $1.123 billion (€1 billion).

 

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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