UK terrestrial broadcaster ITV has acquired a 61.5% controlling stake in Gurney Productions, the American indie behind Duck Dynasty (pictured) and Auction Hunters, for US$40 million.
The deal, signed and announced just before Christmas, gives ITV a “put and call option” to buy the remaining 38.5% of the indie, with a date range from three years after the initial deal to the end of year five.
The British network said the purchase will boost its American production business, which is primarily spearheaded by ITV Studios, and “will strengthen and complement ITV’s existing position as a producer for major U.S. television networks.”
It added that Gurney, founded in 2005 by Scott and Deirdre Gurney, was “a high margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series,” adding that the company’s pre-tax earnings for 2012 are forecast to be at least $10 million.
Paul Buccieri, MD of ITV Studios International and president and CEO of ITV Studios America, will have direct responsibility for Gurney Productions following the acquisition.
In a statement, ITV CEO Adam Crozier said growing ITV Studios was “a key part” of the company’s overall strategy.
“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,” he added. “We see the U.S. as a key creative market and having a sizable 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 program brands, which will add scale to our already successful U.S. business.”
In addition to Duck Dynasty, one of the top-rated shows cable TV in the States, Gurney also makes Haunted Collector, American Digger and programming for Discovery’s ‘Shark Week.’
In a joint statement, Scott and Deirdre Gurney said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Gurney Productions to be part of a company that is a leading producer of television shows around the world and has a strong international distribution business.
“Joining the ITV family will allow us to continue to develop and thrive.”