UK's ITV Acquires 'Cake Boss' Producer

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In December, the company also acquired Gurney Productions in the U.S.

LONDON - U.K. TV networks company ITV said Monday it has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in High Noon Entertainment, the U.S. producer of Cake Boss and other non-scripted entertainment shows.

ITV said it will pay $25.65 million upfront for a 60 percent stake in High Noon. An additional payment in 2015 will be based on the performance of the company. There is also a put and call option for ITV to buy the remainder of High Noon, which may be exercised after four and six years, respectively.

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"The move is another important step forward in ITV’s strategy of building a strong international content business and is a significant addition to the group’s growing portfolio of production companies," ITV said. It follows ITV’s acquisition in December of Gurney Productions in the U.S.

Founded in 1997 by former Liberty Media executive Jim Berger and his partners Duke Hartman and Sonny Hutchison, High Noon has more than 25 shows, across 18 networks including Cake Boss on TLC, Guinness World Records Gone Wild on TruTV and Tough Love on VH1.

Said Kevin Lygo, managing director of ITV Studios: “High Noon Entertainment is a wonderful addition to the ITV family. We’ve admired them for a long time and their company ethos. Their shows both complement and strengthen our existing portfolio of high quality programs and we look forward to working with them.”

High Noon made an operating profit of $5.7 million in 2012 and generated around 80 percent of its production revenue from returning series, according to ITV.

“With ITV as our strategic partner, I can continue my role as a show creator, producer and executive of one of the most prolific companies in reality television,” says High Noon CEO Berger. "In addition, with ITV’s vast experience as both a content producer and a broadcaster, High Noon Entertainment will be even better positioned to provide our clients with what they value most: hit shows, both format and character-based, from a trusted business partner. It’s an incredible opportunity for our company and our clients.”  
ITV has been acquiring production companies to diversify beyond the advertising-dependent TV networks business. Its ITV Studios in 2012 made an operating profit of $162 million (£107 million), up 29 percent from 2011.

Adam Crozier, CEO of ITV, says: “A key part of our Transformation Plan is to create a strong international content business, and this is a further significant step forward in achieving that goal. High Noon Entertainment’s range of programs, from character-based reality shows to game shows and action series, are a great fit for our existing successful U.S. business, ITV Studios America."

Following the acquisition, Paul Buccieri, managing director, ITV Studios International and president and CEO, ITV Studios America, will have direct responsibility for High Noon Entertainment.

 High Noon started out based in Denver before expanding to Los Angeles and New York.