U.K.'s ITV Acquires Majority Stake in 'Hatfields & McCoys' Producer

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UPDATED: The U.K. TV giant agrees to pay $30 million for a 65 percent stake as it continues to grow in the U.S. via acquisitions.

U.K. TV giant ITV continues to grow its U.S. TV production business. 

The company said Wednesday it has agreed to buy a controlling stake in LA-based Thinkfactory Media, a producer of reality, entertainment and drama series, including History Channel hit series Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner.

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ITV will pay $30 million for a 65 percent stake, with a put and call option to buy the remaining 35 percent of the company.

The put and call option could be exercised as early as three years after the initial deal and at the end of year five. The amount paid would be linked to the performance of the company over that period.

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Thinkfactory was founded in 1992 by seasoned Hollywood producer Leslie Greif who serves as CEO. Its shows also include R&B Divas, Preachers’ Daughters, Marriage Bootcamp and The Hook-Up , as well as a new drama series, Texas Rangers, for the History Channel.

ITV has been looking to diversify its revenue streams beyond the advertising-driven TV networks business by expanding its production activity, including via acquisitions in the U.S. and beyond. In May, it acquired a controlling stake in the U.S. producer of Cake Boss, High Noon Entertainment. In December, it bought Duck Dynasty maker Gurney Productions
Said ITV CEO Adam Crozier: “We’re gathering real momentum in building a substantial U.S. presence, which is central to our strategy of creating a strong international content business. The acquisition of Thinkfactory Media is clearly a further significant step forward in achieving that goal."
 "While retaining the independent spirit that keeps Thinkfactory Media creative, this relationship not only allows us to continue producing top-quality scripted and unscripted content, but enhances the potential for global distribution and our continued success in the marketplace.”

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Paul Buccieri, managing director of ITV Studios International and president and CEO of ITV Studios America, said: "Through Leslie's vision and expert leadership Thinkfactory Media has become one of the most admired producers in the industry. Leslie can effortlessly flow between producing scripted and reality shows - a skill increasingly admired by cable TV buyers."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai