ITV buys Talpa for $531 million

Two weeks after the UK media company confirmed it was in discussions to buy Talpa Media, ITV has acquired The Voice creator for US $531.68 million (£355 million). (Pictured: Talpa owner John de Mol)
March 12, 2015

Two weeks after the UK media company confirmed it was in discussions to buy Talpa Media, ITV has acquired The Voice creator for US$531.68 million (£355 million).

ITV revealed today that it has made the initial payment of £355 million for the Dutch producer-distributor, with further payments “dependent on Talpa’s future performance.”

A maximum total – including the initial payment – is approximately £781 million (or approximately $1.17 billion), though it is contingent on Talpa delivering “significant profit growth” over an eight-year period as well as Talpa owner John de Mol (pictured) remaining with the business during that period.

Following the transaction, De Mol and Talpa’s senior management and creative team “will continue to play a key role in format creation and development to maintain Talpa’s strong creative pipeline.” The group is to work exclusively for Talpa alongside ITV Studios MD Kevin Lygo and his team.  Talpa is also expected to maintain and develop its client relationships.

The Talpa acquisition is the latest – and largest – of a number of high-profile deals made by ITV over the past few years. The company paid $360 million for Leftfield Entertainment in May 2014, and has also added such companies as Thinkfactory Media, Gurney Productions, The Garden, DiGa Vision and High Noon Entertainment to its roster.

The Dutch company’s portfolio includes the global singing competition format The Voice, social experiment Utopia and game show Dating in the Dark. Talpa confirmed in September that it had retained Bank of America Merrill Lynch to “register and further investigate the interest shown by international parties in the company.” At that time, reported suitors included Shine Group and FremantleMedia, and speculated price tags for the production company ranged between €600 million to €700 million. According to ITV, Talpa in 2014 generated €233 million in revenue from productions, format fees and new revenue sources.

The transaction – which ITV says will be financed through existing cash resources and new debt facilities – is expected to close during the year’s second quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

“Great content is at the heart of ITV’s growth strategy and the acquisition of Talpa builds on the success of our international content business and is absolutely in line with our desire to create and own formats that travel,” said Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV, in a statement.

“John de Mol and his team have an incredible track record of doing that consistently over many years and I’m delighted to welcome them to the ITV family,” he continued. “This is a great opportunity for ITV to accelerate its progress in building a global content business of scale.”

De Mol added: “Of all the potential partners for Talpa, there’s no doubt ITV is the best fit. When it comes to the importance of content, the strategy of both successful companies is exactly the same and for Talpa this represents a fantastic opportunity for strong further growth. It also enables me personally to concentrate and focus even more on creating new, groundbreaking content.”

With files from Barry Walsh.

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