U.K.'s ITV Acquires Graham Norton's Production Firm So Television

TV Acquisitions
BBC America

Acquisition activity in Europe focused on TV businesses in 2012. U.K. TV giant ITV agreed to acquire Graham Norton's So Television, Norwegian firm Mediacircus and Finland's Tarinatalo before agreeing to buy a majority stake in U.S. producer Gurney just before Christmas. German TV networks group ProSiebenSat.1 acquired majority stakes in British indie Nerd and Israeli producer July August Productions, among others. And U.S. cable channel powerhouse Discovery Communications late in the year won the auction for the Scandinavian assets of ProSieben in a $1.7 billion deal, while finalizing a $240 million investment in France's TF1 in return for a 20 percent stake in the Eurosport and other networks.

UPDATED: The British broadcaster's ITV Studios, which has been on a deal-making spree, will pay up to $26.8 million.

LONDON - British broadcaster ITV said Thursday that its ITV Studios has acquired So Television, Graham Norton's independent production firm.

ITV will pay £10 million ($15.8 million) in cash upfront with a further cash payment contingent on So Television's profit performance through July 31, 2016. "The maximum total consideration payable is £17 million ($26.8 million), it said.

The company is behind such hit entertainment and comedy shows as The Graham Norton Show and The Sarah Millican Television Program.

Under the leadership of CEO Adam Crozier and chairman Archie Norman, ITV has focused on further expanding its fast-growing ITV Studios, which has been producing content and selling it around the world. 

It recently agreed to acquire Norwegian production firm Mediacircus and struck a strategic development and production partnership with Israeli broadcaster Reshet.

"This is an important acquisition for ITV Studios and demonstrates our strategy to increase our capability in the production of high-quality television entertainment programming," said Kevin Lygo, managing director of ITV Studios,

"So Television has been our baby for 12 years, so I'm thrilled that the ITV family has decided to take it under their wing and help it blossom," Norton said in a statement.

So Television, which the Irish comedian co-owns with Graham Stuart, reported a pre-tax profit gain of 42 percent to £1.22 million ($1.97 million) for its latest fiscal year ended in July. It recorded revenue of £11.9 million ($19.2 million), up 37 percent.

ITV Studios UK managing director Denise O'Donoghue said: "So Television is known for its creative rigor and intense quality-control across its programming, whether that is its crown jewel, The Graham Norton Show, or its newer but no less brilliant The Sarah Millican Television Programme."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

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