As widely anticipated, UK commercial broadcaster ITV has confirmed it is to acquire Talpa Media B.V., the entertainment show producer behind worldwide hit formats, including The Voice, The Voice Kids, Utopia, I Love My Country and Dating In The Dark for an initial cash consideration of approximately £355 million (€500m).
ITV says the acquisition is a further milestone in its strategy of building an international content business that creates and owns entertainment formats and dramas that sell internationally, and significantly strengthens its position as a leading producer in Europe.
Established by Big Brother creator John de Mol, Talpa is a fast-growing Netherlands based production and distribution business, focused on developing new formats that attract large audiences and have significant global commercial potential. Over the last six years, Talpa has created 75 shows airing in more than 180 countries, with 16 new formats broadcast last year. Talpa’s focus on high quality formats fits well with ITV Studios’ existing genre focus, and will add to ITV’s growing portfolio of international production companies.
Award winning singing talent competition The Voice has become a global entertainment blockbuster since its Dutch premiere in 2010 and has been broadcast in 180 countries – the eighth series launched recently in the US on NBC to strong ratings of almost 14 million, topping the previous series finale. Spin-off show The Voice Kids has sold to 28 countries.
Other worldwide Talpa hits include game show I Love My Country, which has been sold to 26 countries; Dating in the Dark, aired in 24 countries; game shows Divided and Battle of the Sexes as well as Utopia, a social television experiment, which launched in 2015 and has already sold to seven countries including Romania, Turkey and Germany where it recently aired to become SAT.1’s best format launch since 2009.
Under the leadership of John de Mol and CEO Pim Schmitz, Talpa has a strong track record of operational and financial performance. In the financial year to 31 December 2014, the company generated €233 million revenue from productions, format fees and new revenue sources, delivering €61 million EBITA. Following the transaction, John de Mol, together with his senior management and creatives, will continue to play a key role in format creation and development to maintain Talpa’s strong creative pipeline, working exclusively for Talpa alongside ITV Studios Managing Director Kevin Lygo and his team. A key focus for Talpa will be to continue to maintain and develop its client relationships.
ITV will pay an initial cash consideration of €500 million (approximately £355 million) for 100 per cent of Talpa’s fully diluted share capital with further payments dependent on Talpa’s future performance. The total maximum consideration, including the initial payment, is up to €1.1 billion (approximately £781 million). This total is contingent on Talpa continuing to deliver significant profit growth over an eight year period as well as John de Mol’s continued commitment to the business during this time. The transaction will be earnings accretive from day one and is expected to accelerate ITV Studios’ growth internationally.
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.
Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV, said that “great content” was at the heart of ITV’s growth strategy and the acquisition of Talpa built on the success of its international content business and was “absolutely” in line with its desire to create and own formats that travel. “John de Mol and his team have an incredible track record of doing that consistently over many years and I’m delighted to welcome them to the ITV family. This is a great opportunity for ITV to accelerate its progress in building a global content business of scale,” he added.
de Mol said that of all the potential partners for Talpa, there was no doubt ITV is the best fit. “When it comes to the importance of content, the strategy of both successful companies is exactly the same and for Talpa this represents a fantastic opportunity for strong further growth. It also enables me personally to concentrate and focus even more on creating new, groundbreaking content,” he noted.