Former Fox Networks Group (FNG) president David Haslingden (pictured) has acquired Aussie indie Northern Pictures and wildlife specialist NHNZ, and is quietly building a global production group, realscreen can reveal.
Haslingden, a former CEO of National Geographic Channels International, stepped down as president and COO of FNG in August last year, to return to his native Australia. He has been working under-the-radar since then to create the as-yet-unnamed new super-indie, which he has big ambitions for.
As he left FNG last fall, Haslingden quietly took ownership of NHNZ, the 36-year-old, New Zealand-headquartered prodco behind shows such as A+E series I Survived… and NHK/ Science/ARTE copro Life Force II. NHNZ had been owned by Fox International Channels since 1997.
Then, in a deal finalized last week, the former Fox exec took control of Northern Pictures, the indie behind the Australia Broadcasting Company/CBC/History UK copro Darwin’s Brave New World, SBS’s Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta, and ABC’s forthcoming Kakadu. The Sydney-based prodco was founded in 2010 by former ScreenWorld general manager Sue Clothier.
Financial details for both takeovers are not being disclosed; however, Haslingden now owns 100% of both production houses, including all of NHNZ’s subsidiary holdings, such as its stakes in Singapore-based Beach House Pictures (Hidden Cities Extreme, Birth Days).
Look out for an exclusive interview with Haslingden, in which he discusses plans for his new production group, publishing on realscreen later today.
- UPDATE/CORRECTION 20/2/13:
This story originally suggested that David Haslingden had taken ownership of a stake in South African company Aquavision as part of his acquisition of NHNZ. However, an NHNZ spokesperson has clarified that the aforementioned stake was actually owned by NHNZ’s previous owner Fox and only managed by NHNZ. Ownership of the Aquavision stake has not transferred to Haslingden, and remains with Fox.