Sky Acquires Majority Stake in U.S. Production Firm Jupiter

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012
Courtesy of BSkyB

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012

The pan-European pay TV company's latest deal expands the programs its Sky Vision international distribution unit can take around the world.

Pan-European pay TV giant Sky has acquired a 60 percent stake in U.S. TV production firm Jupiter Entertainment, which focuses on nonscripted series and formats.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

The deal is part of Sky’s strategy to build a broad international content business, including networks, production and distribution.

It has particularly looked to expand the distribution of new programs through its Sky Vision international distribution unit. The Jupiter deal follows similar deals that saw Sky, led by CEO Jeremy Darroch, acquire stakes in independent production companies Love Productions in the U.K. and L.A.-based Znak & Jones.

Founded in 1996 by Stephen Land, Jupiter produces popular documentary, reality, true crime and lifestyle series such as Welcome to Myrtle Manor (TLC), Wild West Alaska (Animal Planet), Snapped (Oxygen) and Homicide Hunter (ID).

The company recently struck a multiyear first-look deal with Random House that allows it to adapt the publisher’s assets as nonfiction TV and digital properties.

Jupiter has corporate offices in Knoxville, Tenn., and New York along with a Los Angeles postproduction location. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky.

Jupiter will continue to operate as a distinct company under the terms of the deal and will produce programs for a variety of networks. Jupiter’s existing agreements with other networks and distributors will remain unchanged.

Said Jane Millichip, managing director of Sky Vision: “Over the past two decades, Jupiter has built an impressive track record in popular factual television and has become a major supplier to a variety of U.S. networks. We look forward to working with Stephen, who is one of America’s most prolific television executives, and his talented team."

She added: "They have an exciting slate of returning series and new formats, and Jupiter will become an important partner for Sky Vision as we build our presence in the U.S. market.”

Land, CEO and executive producer of Jupiter, said: “We couldn’t be more delighted. Sky is an ideal strategic partner. Combining Jupiter’s strong domestic growth with Sky’s global reach creates thrilling possibilities. We have ambitious growth plans and believe our employees and network partners will all benefit from this exciting combination."