ITV in $30m deal for Thinkfactory

After taking over Duck Dynasty indie Gurney Productions and Cake Boss firm High Noon, UK broadcaster ITV has made yet another U.S. power play, buying control of Thinkfactory Media, the prodco behind Hatfields & McCoys (pictured).
June 19, 2013

After taking over Duck Dynasty indie Gurney Productions and Cake Boss firm High Noon Entertainment, UK broadcaster ITV has made yet another U.S. power play, buying a controlling stake in Thinkfactory Media, the prodco behind Hatfields & McCoys (pictured).

ITV is paying US$30 million upfront for a 65% stake in Thinkfactory, with a ‘put and call’ option to buy the remaining 35% of the company.

The option allows them to take the remainder of the firm at some point between three and five years after today’s deal, with the total amount paid linked to the performance of the indie over that period.

In addition to Hatfields, Thinkfactory – which was founded by CEO Leslie Greif in 1992 – produces titles including R&B Divas, Preachers’ Daughters, Marriage Bootcamp and The Hook-Up. According to ITV, the indie is also making a drama for U.S. net History called Texas Rangers.

ITV CEO Adam Crozier said: “We’re gathering real momentum in building a substantial U.S. presence, which is central to our strategy of creating a strong international content business. The acquisition of Thinkfactory Media is clearly a further significant step forward in achieving that goal.

“Over the last two decades Leslie and his team have established a terrific reputation as a producer of great programs across a range of genres, and I’m delighted to welcome them to ITV Studios’ growing international family.”

Paul Buccieri, MD of ITV Studios International and president and CEO of ITV Studios America, added: “Leslie can effortlessly flow between producing scripted and reality shows – a skill increasingly admired by cable TV buyers. I am very excited to be working with Leslie and the whole Thinkfactory Media team as they continue their growth.”

In addition to sitting alongside Gurney Productions (which ITV acquired six months ago) in the UK broadcaster’s stable of U.S. indies, Thinkfactory also joins a portfolio that includes High Noon Entertainment, the prodco behind Cake Boss, which ITV acquired in May. The network’s spending spree has not been limited to the States, either; ITV also acquired UK indie The Garden in April.

In a statement, Greif said: “While retaining the independent spirit that keeps Thinkfactory Media creative, this relationship not only allows us to continue producing top-quality scripted and unscripted content, but enhances the potential for global distribution and our continued success in the marketplace.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.