ITV has closed a deal to acquire 100% of Talpa Media B.V., the Netherlands-based production company behind reality shows The Voice, The Voice Kids, Utopia, I Love My Country and Dating In The Dark for $530 million in cash.
That is considered an initial payment to Talpa owner, Big Brother creator John de Mol. The final price could go up to $1.17 billion contingent on Talpa hitting profit growth targets over the next eight years as well as de Mol staying on board for that time. Following the transaction, de Mol will continue to have a key role in format creation, working exclusively for Talpa alongside ITV Studios Managing Director Kevin Lygo and his team.
The pact gives ITV access to Talpa’s portfolio of formats. De Mol’s company has created 75 shows airing in more than 180 countries, with 16 new formats broadcast last year. That includes global hit The Voice, spinoff The Voice Kids, I Love My Country, Dating In The Dark, game shows Divided and Battle Of The Sexes as well as social experiment Utopia, which is being made in multiple territories despite its brief U.S. run.
According to the announcement, in the 2014 financial year, Talpa generated €233 million revenue from productions, format fees and new revenue sources, delivering €61 million EBITA.
The transaction will be financed through existing cash resources and new debt facilities, and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015 subject to regulatory approval.
The Talpa acquisition is part of ITV’s ongoing aggressive expansion. In the past two years, the company has bought a string of U.S. and U.K. production companies, including Big Talk, The Garden and Leftfield Entertainment.
As for de Mol, observers had noted that, following the ill-fated sale of his previous company, Endemol, to Telefonica, he was determined to favor a strong media company vs. the highest bidder for his latest production venture. “Of all the potential partners for Talpa, there’s no doubt ITV is the best fit,” de Mol said.