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Zinc agrees Tern takeover

Tern’s Air Ambulance ER airs on Sky1

UK-based Zinc Media Group has struck an agreement to acquire Scottish indie Tern Television Productions in a deal that could cost up to £5.45m (US$7.14m).

Zinc, which rebranded from Ten Alps following a restructure last year, will pay an initial £2m, plus £1.1m for surplus cash and an earnout consideration of up to £2.35m to be paid partly in shares and cash.

Zinc is also raising £3.5m via a new share placing to finance the deal and provide additional capital for the enlarged business, with several unnamed board members participating.

Tern was established in 1988 and specialises in factual series from its bases in Scotland and Northern Ireland, including Air Ambulance ER for Sky1 and Best Laid Plans for Channel 4.

It produces around 60 hours annually for UK broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky1, as well as international broadcasters such as Discovery, PBS and National Geographic Channels.

Zinc said Tern had reported a profit of £300,000 in the financial year to 31 March 2017, with turnover of approximately £5.3m – up from £4.4m the same time last year.

Zinc chairman Peter Bertram described Tern as a “key acquisition” that would put his company “in a strong position to further expand and grow in an industry which is experiencing ever-increasing demand for original content, due to the rapid growth of connected devices and new TV platforms.”

He added: “By augmenting our business through acquisitions such as that of Tern, the enlarged group will have greater abilities to reach new markets, to establish strategic relationships with broadcasters and international commissioners and to produce innovative content.”

Zinc said Tern’s senior management team, which includes MD David Strachan, creative director Harry Bell and director of feature and popular factual Andrew Snowball, would stay with the company once the deal had been concluded.

After its rebrand from Ten Alps, Zinc retained its TV brands, which include Blakeway, Brook Lapping, Films of Record and Reef Television.

It had been lining up a potential merger with UK digital outfit Brave Bison but that fell through in June, following a tumultuous couple of years for Zinc.

CEO Mark Wood left the firm last year after a shake-up at the factual-focused media group, which followed the prodco issuing a profit warning, prompting its shares to slide.

Prior to that, Ten Alps had acquired factual producer Reef in a reverse takeover at the same time as the UK indie group’s founder, Sir Bob Geldof, stepped down from the board.

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