Tinopolis has bought U.S. indie A Smith & Co (Hell’s Kitchen USA, I Survived A Japanese Gameshow) in a £60 million (US$96 million) deal, with the UK superindie’s exec chairman Ron Jones telling realscreen he sees further opportunities for American acquisitions.
The acquisition of the LA-based prodco, which is headed up by Arthur Smith (pictured above) and Kent Weed, brings the UK producer-distributor into the U.S. market in a major way. As part of the deal, co-founder Smith will join the board of Tinopolis, which is also home to UK indies Mentorn and Pioneer Productions.
Talking to realscreen about today’s deal, Jones said the pact will allow Tinopolis to become “a truly transatlantic operation.” He added that the company had been looking for a U.S. indie that would give it “a very solid base of business across a broad range of broadcasters and genres” for some time.
“This will make us a company that genuinely has a very strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Jones. “And what this also does, both for A Smith and Tinopolis, is enhance our development efforts quite substantially.”
He added that Tinopolis has been active in the U.S. via Mentorn and Pioneer for several years, and has worked with the indie in the past, with Smith having exec produced several projects. “But what we now have is our own large, reliable company in the U.S. to help Pioneer and Mentorn extend their relationships across a whole range of new channels that A Smith has contact with,” Jones explained.
He also hinted that there may be further acquisitions in the pipeline. “In the U.S. there is that potential for consolidation among the U.S. producers that we’ve seen in the UK over the past five to 10 years,” he said. “So I would say we’re currently active.”
In a statement, Smith said that while the company had been repeatedly approached regarding strategic partnerships, the Tinopolis deal “allows us to expand aggressively while ensuring that we will have even more resources” to continue to produce content.
“We have a phenomenal team in place, and now look to expand on our already existing relationship with Mentorn as well as harness our experience in sports programming via Tinopolis’ respected sports production unit Sunset + Vine,” Smith added.
Besides its Gordon Ramsay-fronted series, A. Smith & Co. has considerable experience in the sports TV arena, having also produced UFC Countdown and Pros vs. Joes. Smith also had stints with CBC Network Sports in Canada and Fox Sports in the U.S.
The company, which was founded in 2000, also recently made a move into the management business by acquiring Braverman/Bloom, which represents Jesse Ventura and Chris Jericho among others.
(Additional files by Barry Walsh)