UK broadcaster ITV has acquired The Garden, the indie producer behind 24 Hours in A&E and The Audience (pictured), in an £18 million (US$27.4 million) deal.
The network will pay an upfront cash consideration of £18 million, with a further cash payment depending on The Garden’s profit performance over the next five years. The Garden made an operating profit of £2.5 million in 2012, according to ITV.
The deal marks the second major indie acquisition in six months for the broadcaster, after it acquired a 61.5% controlling stake in Gurney Productions, the American indie behind Duck Dynasty, for $40 million last December.
ITV Studios MD Kevin Lygo said: “The Garden has grown rapidly and achieved an enviable reputation for outstanding delivery of innovative, ambitious documentary series for the BBC and Channel 4.
“A key focus for ITV is to develop hit programs which we can then export globally and The Garden already has an impressive track record. Its flagship title – 24 Hours in A&E – is not only a hit for Channel 4, but has sold to nearly 100 territories around the world and is now in production with series four and five.”
The Garden was launched in June 2010 by Nick Curwin and Magnus Temple. In addition to A&E and Audience, the indie also produced Seven Dwarves for Channel 4, along with BBC2 titles The Midwives; Inside Claridge’s; and Keeping Britain Alive.
In 2011, ITV Studios (ITVS) – the broadcaster’s in-house production unit – signed a joint development agreement with The Garden. In addition, sales arm ITV Studios Global Entertainment distributes the majority of The Garden’s programming.
In a joint statement, Curwin and Temple said: “We have a trusting, creative and fruitful relationship with ITV Studios, having previously joined forces to bolster our development efforts. We have been talking for some time about how to extend this partnership to mutual strategic advantage.
“The values and ethos of The Garden will remain unchanged, as will our appetite for innovation, our insistence on delivering to the highest standards and our focus on the key relationships we’ve built up over the years. Being part of ITV will help us grow further in the UK and, in particular, to achieve our international ambitions.
“We will be working more closely with ITVS whilst continuing to concentrate as hard as ever on our important relationships with Channel 4 and the BBC. We are both totally committed to this new venture and we look forward to many successful and exciting years ahead with our new partners.”