Warner Bros. to Acquire Indie TV Producer Eyeworks' International Business

Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara

UPDATED: The deal will expand the global presence of Time Warner's TV studio operation, which has been looking to launch local production arms.

Warner Bros. Television Group has agreed to acquire Eyeworks’ businesses outside the U.S., boosting its overseas presence at a time when it has been focusing on establishing local production companies.

The company, known for hit show format Celebrity Splash, has TV production operations in 15 countries across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand, adding 13 new territories to Warner's network of production companies. 

Financial details weren't disclosed.

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Other Eyeworks formats include Test The Nation, Who Wants to Marry my Son?, Beat The Blondes, Reality Queens of the Jungle and Obese (aka Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition).

The announcement was made Tuesday by Jeffrey Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, Craig Hunegs, president, business and strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group, Peter Roth, president and chief content officer, Warner Bros. Television Group and Reinout Oerlemans, who is the outgoing founder and CEO of the Eyeworks Group.
In connection with the transaction, Oerlemans will move to L.A. to take on the new role of chairman of Eyeworks USA, which will remain independent.

Founded in The Netherlands by Oerlemans in 2001, Eyeworks is an international independent producer and distributor of scripted and non-scripted programming in such genres as entertainment, drama and film.

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Said Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment: "Our proposed acquisition of Eyeworks’ 15 local production companies, represents a significant next step in our strategy, further strengthening Warner Bros.' position in global television."  

In 2010, Warner acquired U.K.-based Shed Media. In 2011, it bought BlazHoffski in The Netherlands and Belgium.
Said Oerlemans: "It’s fair to say that it got me thinking when Warner Bros. showed the strong interest in Eyeworks. For Eyeworks, this is a defining step towards our ongoing objective to be a major player in content production around the globe."
The acquisition is expected to be completed later in 2014, subject to regulatory approvals.

Besides the U.S., the firm has operations in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai