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ITV buys Duck Dynasty prodco

The UK’s ITV has expanded its US production operations with the acquisition of the LA-based company behind cable hits Duck Dynasty, Auction Hunters and American Digger.

Deirdre & Scott Gurney

Deirdre & Scott Gurney

The broadcaster has today confirmed it will pay US$40m for a 61.5% controlling stake in Gurney Productions, with a put and call option to buy the remaining 38.5% of the company.

The option could be exercised from three years after the deal and at the end of five years. The maximum total sum payable by ITV is US$111m, depending on the performance of Gurney over the next three to five years.

Gurney’s EBITA for 2012 is forecast to be at least US$10m and ITV described the prodco as “a high margin business with three quarters of its revenues coming from returnable series.”

Gurney was founded in 2005 by Scott and Deirdre Gurney and its production slate includes Duck Dynasty for A&E; Auction Hunters and American Digger for Spike; Hollywood Treasure for Syfy; and plenty of shark-related fare for Discovery Channel. The firm also produces commercials.

With Gurney part of ITV Studios America, the Gurney duo will report to Paul Buccieri, MD of ITV Studios International and president and CEO of ITV Studios America. Gurney’s revenues will be included in ITV Studios’ international revenues from completion of the deal on December 31, 2012.

“Growing ITV Studios is a key part of our strategy to rebalance the group,” said Adam Crozier, CEO of ITV. “Our studios business is already showing strong organic growth and the acquisition of Gurney is an important step forward as we continue to expand our international production capability.

“We see the US as a key creative market and having a sizeable presence there is central to the expansion of our global content business. ITV Studios America has been growing revenues at around 20% for the last two years under the leadership of Paul Buccieri. Gurney will add scale to our already successful US business.”

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