19 June, 2013 | By Lisa Campbell
ITV has acquired its third American indie, paying $30m (£19m) for a controlling stake in Hatfields & McCoys producer Thinkfactory.
The broadcaster has bought a 65% of the US indie and has a “put and call option” to buy up the remainder of the company, which can be excercised after three years. Any further payments will be linked to the performance of the company.
LA-based Thinkfactory was founded by Leslie Greif and is known for creating programming in a wide-range of genres, from features and mini-series to unscripted series, docs and music specials.
The deal comes hot on the heels of other recent acquisitions for ITV, including last month’s $25m (£16m) investment for a 60% stake of Cake Boss producer High Noon and April’s acquisition of UK producer The Garden, for which it paid £18m in cash with an unstipulated further cash payment over the next five years.
In December, ITV acquired a 61.5% stake in fact-ent specialist Gurney Productions, the indie behind A&E’s reality hit Duck Dynasty, for $40m (£24.5m).
This latest deal marks the first time ITVS has opted for a multi-genre producer in the US rather than a reality and entertainment specialist.
Hatfields & McCoys was a breakout hit for the History channel in the US, with over 17m viewers tuning in to the premiere. The Kevin Costner-fronted series is the highest-rated mini-series on cable since 1998 and spawned a two-hour documentary on the history of the Hatfields & McCoys, as well as an hour-long behind the scenes show.
Thinkfactory has produced a raft of content for other major cable networks including A&E, Lifetime, TLC and VH1. The indie is currently in production on the seventh season of Gene Simmons Family Jewels for A&E and Prank My Mom for Lifetime, as well as the recently announced R&B Divas for TVOne.
It is the sixth ITV indie acquisition in less than a year, with each of the deals being brokered by About Corporate Finance.
Commenting on last month’s US deal ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier said: “A key part of our transformation plan is to create a strong international content business.”