Acorn Media Buys 64 Percent Stake in Agatha Christie Estate

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Agatha Christie.

New TV and feature films based on the characters Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, created by the best-selling novelist of all time, are in development.

NEW YORK - Acorn Media Group has acquired a 64 percent controlling interest in mystery author Agatha Christie’s estate, Agatha Christie Limited, the company said Wednesday.

Financial terms of the deal, which for the first time puts the estate in U.S. hands, weren't disclosed. The Christie family will retain a 36 percent stake, with Mathew Prichard, Christie’s grandson, remaining chairman of the estate.

The estate includes more than 80 novels and plays and nearly 40 TV films, according to the partners. Christie, best known for creating snoops Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, is the best-selling novelist of all time with more than 2 billion books sold, they said.

ITV recently commissioned new episodes of Poirot and Marple. The eight TV films will start production in the summer and air beginning in 2013 on ITV and PBS. Feature film adaptations are also in development with these characters, according to the partners.

Acorn has functioned as the distributor of British TV on home video in the U.S. and has launched Acorn TV, the first British TV-focused streaming video service.

"We see this acquisition as a key step in the company’s continued evolution into content ownership and television production," said Miguel Penella, CEO of Acorn Media.

Acorn chairman Peter Edwards added: "While we are keenly aware of the financial and strategic worth of this transaction for Acorn Media, we are also grateful to partner with the Agatha Christie family in the promoting and protecting of their family legacy.”

Christie was born in 1890 and died in 1976.