NBCU International TV Production Takes Majority Stake in Australia's Matchbox Pictures

The acquisition is NBCUniversal’s first investment in a production company outside of the U.K.


SYDNEY - NBCUniversal International Television Production is expanding its global footprint, announcing Monday its acquired a majority stake in Australian production house Matchbox Pictures, for an unspecified sum.

Under the deal, NBCU International TV Production will invest in Matchbox Pictures and provide a global distribution network for Matchbox content outside Australia and New Zealand.

The acquisition is NBCUniversal’s first investment in a production company outside of the U.K. and adds to its growing portfolio of international production assets, which includes Carnival, Monkey Kingdom and Chocolate Media in the U.K., a joint venture with Working Title Television, and strategic production deals with Lark Productions in Canada and Full Clip Productions in Los Angeles.

Melbourne-based Matchbox was founded in 2008 to develop and produce feature TV drama, comedy, documentary, children’s, feature films and online content and is a partnership between some of Australia’s most experienced producers including Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Penny Chapman, Michael McMahon, and Helen Panckhurst.

Matchbox’ slate currently includes award winning ABC3 kids drama series, My Place, upcoming ABCTV drama, The Slap and new drama, TheStraits. In 2009 it was awarded Screen Australia Enterprise funding, receiving a $750,000 grant to develop its slate and its business

Making the announcement, NBCU International TV Production president Michael Edelstein said: “Working with the best creative talent from around the world is integral to our growth strategy. We are proud to partner with the stellar team at Matchbox Pictures who share our vision to produce amazing television in Australia and around the world. Matchbox’s team have great taste, with an inventive ability to tell compelling stories. We are excited to work alongside Matchbox and give their content the global reach it deserves.”

Matchbox principal Penny Chapman added “When we launched Matchbox Pictures, our goal was to produce great stories with Australia’s best creative talent. NBCUniversal shares that same vision, which is why we wanted to do business with them. Working with NBCUniversal will give us the resources to produce quality shows on a larger scale and provide opportunities for the creative people we team up with in Australia, to have their work seen on an international stage.”

Matchbox’s operations will continue to be run by its Australian team, who will retain creative autonomy, NBCU said.

NBCU’s senior vice president of international business development, Alfonso Marone, led the deal-making activities for NBCU: "This injection of capital will enable Matchbox to accelerate its organic development by recruiting additional Australian creative talent and strengthening the general business infrastructure,” he said.