Warner Bros. International TV Circling Dutch Production Giant Eyeworks (Reports)


Time Warner's global production division is said to be in talks to take full control of the company behind reality TV shows like ABC's "Splash."

Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITP) is looking to acquire Dutch-based production giant Eyeworks, according to reports.

Time Warner's global TV production division is said to be in talks to take full control of Eyeworks, which produces light fare like Celebrity Splash -- broadcast as Splash on ABC in the U.S. -- though no deal is in place yet. Both parties have so far declined comment.

Eyeworks, which operates local production outlets in 16 territories worldwide, is considered a prime takeover target, though the group took itself off the market nearly three years ago, saying it preferred to go it alone.

But with margins shrinking in the TV format business and established production houses facing increasing competition from online operators, consolidation has become the rule, rather than the exception. Warner Bros. hasn't been active on the acquisitions front recently. Its last major buys were Benelux format group BlazHoffski in 2011 and Brit-based Shed Media in 2010. But the studio has been linked to a bid for Eyeworks competitor Endemol.

Eyeworks was founded in 2001 by Reinout Oerlemans and Endemol co-founder Joop van den Ende. Media reports have put the asking price for Eyeworks at around $270 million (€200 million).

Warner Bros. already produces local-language formats and series in multiple international territories.