LONDON; 7 November 2011: Discovery Communications announced today the acquisition of the factual entertainment and formats hothouse betty in the indie’s 10th and most successful year to date. The announcement was made today by betty CEO Liz Warner and Lee Bartlett, Executive Vice President of Global Production Management, Business and Legal Affairs for Discovery Communications.
The deal will give the award-winning production company, managed by founder Warner, Head Of Production, Sophy Walker and Creative Director, Walter Iuzzolino, a global infrastructure and investment to maximize and expand its creative output worldwide. To date, TLC in the U.S. has commissioned two runs of betty’s BBC Three hit series Freaky Eaters. betty will continue to operate independently from its London headquarters, and all of betty’s current staff will be retained in the new arrangement.
For Discovery Communications, this acquisition is part of several key initiatives including broadening the company’s programming focused on the lifestyle flagship, TLC which just surpassed the 100-milllion household mark internationally, and expanding the creative output of its UK based International operation that can better develop, source and produce world-class content shared across regions and in the United States. Under the agreement, betty will develop and produce new ideas and formats for the full compliment of Discovery’s portfolio of factual and lifestyle channels. In addition, Discovery will have the option to acquire formats from betty that have previously been produced from the company’s programming library.
Warner said, “Creativity and idea generation are the drivers of our business. We are thrilled to do this deal with Discovery which gives us the freedom to be a thriving UK producer and gives Discovery the benefit of our increasing number of formats and series for their international business. It is genuinely exciting to be working with such a successful corporation and to tap into their infrastructure.”
Bartlett said, “We are committed to working with the best creatives in the business, and no question that betty stands apart. This is a global deal, and Discovery looks forward to providing the infrastructure and resources of our global platform of 142 networks in 210 countries to enable betty to extend their content to our channels in the US and around the world. We are looking forward to betty infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with award-winning storytelling that will be seen on TLC and Discovery’s channels around the world.”
In 2001, betty was founded by the former BBC and Channel 4 commissioning editor Liz Warner to produce high-quality primetime contemporary factual television for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky. The company’s hit formats include Freaky Eaters, Beauty and the Beast, Food Hospital and Country House Rescue, which have been sold to countries around the world.
Discovery Communications’ portfolio of global brands is led by Discovery Channel, available in 210 markets; Animal Planet, available in more than 190 markets; TLC (including Real Time) Discovery’s new global flagship entertainment and lifestyle networks targeting women, now available in over 170 markets; Discovery Science, available in more than 140 markets; Discovery HD, available in more than 140 markets; and ID: Investigation Discovery, available in more than 100 markets around the world.
Media corporate finance firm Clarity and Wiggin solicitors advised the shareholders of betty on the deal.
HRO Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.