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Sony Pictures Television’s long-rumored acquisition of Bad Wolf — the fast-rising production company behind the HBO/BBC His Dark Materials adaptation and a number of other recent hits — is finally official, adding yet another major British banner to the company’s expanding arsenal.
Sony unveiled Wednesday that it had taken a majority stake in the Wales-based production company in a deal that also includes Bad Wolf’s vast 250,000-square-foot Wolf Studios Wales facility near Cardiff and the 30 percent stake Bad Wolf owns in its L.A.-based sister company Bad Wolf America. While no financial details were revealed, when the deal was first touted in the trade press in October the figure was put at 60 million pounds ($81 million). At the time it was believed Sony would be acquiring the minority stakes in Bad Wolf held by Sky/HBO and Access Entertainment.
Since it was first launched in 2015 by BBC veterans Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, Bad Wolf has firmly established itself as one of the busiest production companies in the U.K. Alongside His Dark Materials, a hugely ambitious project shot in Bad Wolf’s Welsh studios and that recently wrapped its third and final season, the company has been behind A Discovery of Witches, Industry and I Hate Suzie. Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, plus HBO and Sky took minority stakes in 2017.
The L.A.-based Bad Wolf America — run by Gardner — was launched in 2019 and earlier this year landed a straight-to-series order from Apple TV+ for the limited series Lady in the Lake that will co-star Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Natalie Portman (marking her first foray into television).
Bad Wolf recently scored a coup by coming aboard the new seasons of Doctor Who when Russell T. Davies rejoins as showrunner in 2022, with Tranter and Gardner reteaming with the writer on the show that they successfully helped revive in 2005. The move will be the first time the BBC has welcomed an outside company to co-produce its cult sci-fi series.
“In the blink of an eye, Bad Wolf has established itself as one of the world’s most admired drama producers,” said Wayne Garvie, Sony Pictures Television’s president, international production. “The quality of work, breadth of imagination and boundless ambition make it one of the great emerging production houses of our time. Jane and her team have built a tremendous business and established Wales as the home of some of the most fantastic tales of the age and now we aim to help them build still further. We are honored that they have chosen us as their partner for the next stage of their exhilarating adventure.”
Bad Wolf joins a growing stable of British drama producers now in Sony’s hands as it continues a long-running spending spree of companies behind some of the U.K’s biggest shows. Having bought stakes in The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures in 2012 and A Very English Scandal‘s Blueprint Television in 2016, it recently ramped up its deal-hunting, in 2019 moving into children’s programming with a stake in Silvergate Media and in 2020 investing in live sports company Whisper Films. Last year it also made a major splash by buying a majority stake in Eleven, the company behind Netflix’s global smash Sex Education.
“The last five years since launching Bad Wolf have been a hugely rewarding experience as, with the support of Access Entertainment, Sky and HBO, we built a production infrastructure and a creative community based out of Wolf Studios Wales that could compete with any TV production in the world,” said Tranter. “Sony Pictures Television share our vision for the company going forward, and their immediate understanding and belief in the ethos of Bad Wolf make them the perfect partners for our future. With a forward-looking, global corporation like Sony investing in the future of Bad Wolf and Wales it gives us the ability to reach even greater heights in the years to come.”
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