The firm behind shows including Gold Rush, Unexplained Files, and Dangerous Persuasions will have the freedom to expand into scripted programming and produce “high-quality independent films” following the deal, the companies say. They didn’t disclose how much Discovery paid for Raw, but say that it will “continue to operate independently from its London headquarters” with all of its current staff. “We are looking forward to Raw infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with compelling stories that will be seen on Discovery’s networks around the world,” Discovery Studios and Production Group President Lee Bartlett says. He adds that the deal is being unveiled on the same day that Discovery rebranded the Military Channel — now called AHC: American Heroes Channel. The two events illustrate “Discovery’s ongoing strategy of increasing investment in new brands, new content creators, new programming genres, and new opportunities across more platforms in more regions of the world,” Bartlett says. Raw’s founder, Dimitri Doganis, adds that the alliance with Discovery “will allow us to really turbo-charge” its efforts to expand into scripted TV and film. Discovery calls the acquisition a “key step” to enhance its production pipeline, especially overseas where it anticipates robust growth as the pay TV market matures in the U.S. It will be interesting to see whether the deal affects Raw’s relationships with other networks. It produces National Geographic’s Locked Up Abroad, and Syfy’s Paranormal Witness. Corporate finance firm About Corporate Finance and Wiggin solicitors advised Raw’s shareholders while Grant Dawe LLP provided legal advice to Discovery.
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