Toronto-headquartered Entertainment One (eOne) has made its first acquisition of a UK-based television production company, purchasing a majority stake in unscripted prodco Whizz Kid Entertainment.
The company is currently adapting the Whizz Kid format Ex on the Beach (pictured) for MTV in the U.S., and the move is also expected to facilitate the entry of eOne’s U.S. unscripted slate into the UK.
The 70% stake comes in at approximately US$9.7 million. Under the terms of the deal, eOne has the option to purchase the remaining 30% after a five-year period.
In addition to Ex on the Beach, Whizz Kid, led by Malcolm Gerrie and Lisa Chapman, is also behind Let’s Dance on BBC1 and the Life on Screen specials for BBC2, coproduced with BAFTA. The company also produces telecasts for numerous live events, including the BAFTAS. It had previously received backing from media investment firm Ingenious Group.
“Whizz Kid gives us a strong footing in one of the most creative markets in the world and is a great first step in our ambitious non-scripted global expansion strategy,” said eOne’s Tara Long, EVP, alternative television, in a statement. “Malcolm is a highly-respected industry executive with broad experience in the international market. We couldn’t be more excited to hit the ground running together with new series on both sides of the Atlantic.”