ITV Expands US Production Arm With Acquisition Of Gurney

ITV announced that it has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Gurney Productions, a fast-growing producer of factual entertainment and reality programmes for leading US cable television networks.

ITV will pay $40m for a 61.5% stake in Gurney Productions, with a put and call option to buy the remaining 38.5% of the company. The put and call option could be exercised from 3 years after the initial deal and at the end of year 5. Gurney Productions is a high margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series.  The company’s EBITA for 2012 is forecast to be at least $10m.

The acquisition marks a significant step forward in building a strong international content business, a key part of ITV’s Transformation Plan. It will strengthen and complement ITV’s existing position as a producer for major US television networks.

Gurney Productions, which was founded in 2005 by Scott and Deirdre Gurney, has become a leading independent producer of large scale returning series for US cable networks.  The company’s portfolio includes Duck Dynasty – currently one of the biggest cable TV shows in the US.

Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV plc, said: “Growing ITV Studios is a key part of our strategy to rebalance the Group. Our studios business is already showing strong organic growth and the acquisition of Gurney is an important step forward as we continue to expand our international production capability. We see the US as a key creative market and having a sizeable presence there is central to the expansion of our global content business. ITV Studios America has been growing revenues at around 20% for the last two years under the leadership of Paul Buccieri.  Gurney is a great company with terrific programme brands, which will add scale to our already successful US business.