U.K. TV Giant ITV Buys 'Duck Dynasty' Company Gurney Productions For $40 million

2012-38 REP Duck Dynasty H

Back-to-back episodes of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" (1.7 and 1.8) bested NBC's high-profile Dick Wolf drama "Chicago Fire" (1.5) in a direct showdown Oct. 17 (not to mention topping every NBC comedy except "The Office," "Go On" and "The New Normal").

The deal will expand ITV Studios America and give the network U.S. shows such as "Haunted Collector" and "Auction Hunters."

LONDON – U.K. commercial TV network broadcaster ITV has snapped up a 61.5 percent controlling stake in Gurney Productions, the U.S. production arm best known for cable show Duck Dynasty as well as Auction Hunters, American Digger and Haunted Collector.

ITV said Saturday (Dec. 22) it is paying $40 million for the stake, giving its U.S. production arm ITV Studios America a sizable output boost.

ITV also said it has an option to snap up the remaining 38.5 percent over the next three to five years.

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The U.K. broadcasting giant described Gurney Productions to its investors as "a high-margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series. The company’s EBITA for 2012 is forecast to be at least $10 million."

Gurney Productions will report directly to ITV Studios America president/CEO Paul Buccieri who also wears a hat as managing director of ITV Studios International.

Gurney Productions’ revenues will be included in ITV Studio’s international revenues starting in 2013.

ITV Studios America production output includes the Gordon Ramsay-starrer Hell’s Kitchen and The Bill Cunningham Show.

In its release to the London stock exchange which is closed for the weekend, ITV said "the acquisition marks a significant step forward in building a strong international content business, a key part of ITV’s Transformation Plan."

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Gurney Productions was founded in 2005 by Scott and Deirdre Gurney and has become a leading independent producer of large-scale returning series for U.S. cable networks.

ITV describes its Duck Dynasty show as "currently one of the biggest cable TV shows in the U.S."

ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said in a statement: "Growing ITV Studios is a key part of our strategy to rebalance the Group. Our studios business is already showing strong organic growth, and the acquisition of Gurney is an important step forward as we continue to expand our international production capability. We see the U.S. as a key creative market, and having a sizable presence there is central to the expansion of our global content business. ITV Studios America has been growing revenues at around 20 percent for the last two years under the leadership of Paul Buccieri. Gurney is a great company with terrific program brands, which will add scale to our already successful U.S. business. Over the last seven years, the team at Gurney has built a strong and growing pipeline of high-end factual entertainment and reality programs, and I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Scott and Deirdre to the ITV fold, where we believe the business can continue to develop and thrive."