Discovery, Liberty Global Complete Acquisition of U.K. Producer All3Media

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav

CEO Farah Ramzan Golant is stepping down

Discovery Communications and Liberty Global said Tuesday that they have closed the $930 million joint acquisition of U.K. TV production firm All3Media following regulatory clearance.

In May, Discovery and Liberty Global formed a joint venture "to preserve All3Media’s creative autonomy while providing strategic guidance and investment to support its global growth." John Malone controls Liberty Global and is a big shareholder in Discovery.

As widely expected, All3Media CEO Farah Ramzan Golant is stepping down. A global search for a new CEO will begin immediately, the new owners said. Jane Turton, currently COO, has been promoted to managing director of All3Media and will oversee the transition period. Neil Bright will continue in his role as CFO.

All3Media is considered Britain's largest independent TV producer and distributor. The company's shows include Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Undercover Boss, Skins, The White Queen, U.K. scripted reality hit The Only Way Is Essex and Cash Cab New York. Private equity firm Permira sold privately-held All3Media.

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The company was formed in 2003 by a group of former ITV executives and has acquired a portfolio of production outfits, including Company (The Village), Objective (Peep Show), Lime Pictures (The Only Way Is Essex), Optomen (Kitchen Nightmares) and One Potato, Two Potato (set up by Gordon Ramsay and Optomen).

“All3Media is a production powerhouse, with a unique ability to attract, foster and retain some of the best creative minds in the business. For nearly 30 years, Discovery has invested in high-quality content and today’s deal furthers that commitment,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav. “Discovery has a proven track record of nurturing creativity and building scale across the world. Working with our valued partner Liberty Global, we will focus on empowering All3Media to continue innovating and delivering even greater stand-out content to its clients and partners across the globe.”

Said Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, which has recently outlined its acquisitions strategy for content companies: “The business, which produces content for some of our biggest markets in Europe, including the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands, is a natural fit for us and our strategy for content. Discovery is the perfect partner too, as they not only commission All3Media content already, but also share our ambition to create compelling, localized content for domestic markets. Together, we will seek to preserve All3Media’s creative independence and support its management to further grow this strong creative business.”

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All3Media consists of 19 production companies across Europe and the U.S. Preserving its federal operating model, All3Media will continue to operate as it does now.

Co-founders of All3Media Steve Morrison, Jules Burns and David Liddiment are retiring from All3Media’s board. Morrison, who previously served as non-executive chairman, will serve as a special advisor to the joint venture’s board, which will have equal representation from Discovery Communications and Liberty Global.

Twitter: @georgszalai