Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has completed its acquisition of The Netherlands’ 2waytraffic, buying up the last 24.3% of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? distributor’s shares.
2waytraffic will therefore cease trading on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange and become a subsidiary of SPE.
It will continue to be led by CEO Kees Abrahams, who will report to a board comprising executives from 2waytraffic and Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI).
Of the company’s other three founders, only creative director Taco Ketelaar will remain in his role as creative director. Hen Keilman, a major shareholder and non-executive director, will step down as his shareholding has been acquired as part of the company purchase, while Unico Glorie has voluntarily stepped down as an executive board member.
“To be combining and consolidating our own ambitions with those of a company of the scope and reputation of SPE is an incredibly exciting development that creates huge growth opportunities for the future,” Abrahams said.
As C21 revealed, 2waytraffic went on the market in early March following a period of financial trouble, triggered in large part by the European call-TV scandal that saw it offload its online production business, Hiptv, before its share price plummeted to a low of 73.5p (US$1.44).
C21 broke news a week later of the €90m (US$140m) deal with Sony, which began its buy-up with just over 75% of 2waytraffic’s shares.
The takeover is the latest in a series of European acquisitions for SPTI, which took out an undiscolosed stake in another Dutch company, producer Tuvalu Media, late last year.
Just last week, SPTI took out an equity stake in new UK indie Gogglebox Entertainment, and also has a 15% interest in Elisabeth Murdoch’s UK superindie Shine.
Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of SPE, said: “The acquisition of 2waytraffic is part of our strategy to expand global production and distribution of light entertainment content. This opens the door to new content for us, and brings to our business a solid distribution infrastructure, strengthening our position for an efficient roll-out of formats internationally.”
Michael Grindon, president of SPTI, added that the acquisition would allow his company to “grow our presence in the light entertainment area.”