U.K.'s ITV to Acquire Indie TV Producer The Garden for $27 Million
LONDON -- U.K. TV networks company ITV has agreed to acquire independent producer The Garden for $27 million (£18 million) in cash plus possible additional payments.
The deal is ITV's latest as it continues to expand its fast-growing production business, one of its big profit drivers, with acquisitions in the U.K. and beyond. Late last year, ITV agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Duck Dynasty producer Gurney Productions for $40 million.
The Garden produces such reality and factual shows as Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E, set in the Accident & Emergency Department of a London hospital, and The Audience, where strangers follow people facing life-changing decisions for a week and decide how they should resolve their dilemmas. It also produces BBC2's Inside Claridge’s, which chronicles a year behind the scenes of the London hotel known for hosting the rich and famous.
The companies already have a strong working relationship. Since 2011, ITV Studios has had a joint development agreement with The Garden. And ITV Global Entertainment, the distribution arm of ITV Studios, distributes the majority of the firm's programming.
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The production firm was launched in June 2010 by Nick Curwin and Magnus Temple. The company also has produced Seven Dwarves for Channel 4 and The Midwives for BBC2.
ITV said it would make further cash payments depending on The Garden's profit performance during the next five years. Last year, the company had an operating profit of $3.8 million (£2.5 million).
"The acquisition fits with a key objective of ITV’s five-year transformation plan -- to create world-class content for multiple platforms, free and pay, both in the U.K. and internationally," ITV said.
Said Kevin Lygo, managing director of ITV Studios: “The Garden has grown rapidly and achieved an enviable reputation for outstanding delivery of innovative, ambitious documentary series for the BBC and Channel 4. A key focus for ITV is to develop hit programs, which we can then export globally, and The Garden already has an impressive track record."
Its flagship show, 24 Hours in A&E, is a hit for Channel 4 and has sold to nearly 100 territories around the world.