Sky Acquires Majority Stake in U.K. Production Company Blast! Films

Sky HQ H 2015
AP Images/Invision

The firm has produced series and films, including 'Hunger,' Steve McQueen's debut feature.

Pan-European pay TV giant Sky has acquired a majority stake in Blast! Films, an independent U.K. production company responsible for such series as The Supervet, The Route Masters and 999: What's Your Emergency?

Financial terms of the deal, announced on Thursday, weren't disclosed. The deal is the latest in Sky’s strategy to build a broad international content business with networks, as well as production and distribution assets. It has particularly looked to expand the distribution of new programs through its Sky Vision international distribution unit.

Founded in 1994 by Ed Coulthard, Blast! Films says it is one of the U.K.’s longest established independent production companies. It has also produced films, including Hunger, Steve McQueen's debut feature.

Blast! will continue to operate as a distinct company under Sky, producing shows and films for various networks. Founder and creative director Coulthard and managing director Claire Bosworth will continue to run the company.

Sky’s international distribution business, Sky Vision, will become Blast!’s distribution partner and represent its new programs and formats. Existing agreements with other networks and distributors will remain unchanged.

Said Coulthard: "Sky really gets the Blast! Films DNA. As program makers we are passionate about quality, and this is a great fit for us as we continue to evolve the company."

Jane Millichip, managing director of Sky Vision, said: “Blast! Films has an incredible pedigree. Ed Coulthard is a first-class producer, and together with Claire Bosworth and team, they have a production slate that combines creative excellence with real commercial appeal. We look forward to working with them to build on their success in the U.K. and internationally.”

Sky, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, previously acquired stakes in independent production companies Love Productions in the U.K. and U.S.-based Znak & Jones and Jupiter Entertainment.

Twitter: @georgszalai