ITV Sets Sights on USA with New Acquisition

written by: Richard Kastelein

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ITVNEWLOGOThe UK's largest commercial broadcaster ITV has announced that it is acquiring a controlling stake in Thinkfactory Media, a leading US producer of reality, entertainment and drama, including the Emmy award-winning Hatfields & McCoys starring Kevin Costner. 

ITV will pay $30m for a 65% stake in Thinkfactory Media, with a put and call option to buy the remaining 35% of the company. The put and call option could be exercised from between 3 years after the initial deal and at the end of year 5 with the total amount paid linked to the performance of the company over that period.

The acquisition is a further significant step forward in ITV’s strategy of building a robust international content business, a key part of the Group’s Transformation Plan. Thinkfactory Media will join ITV’s growing family of production businesses in the US, including Gurney Productions and High Noon Entertainment, building on the strong organic growth already achieved by ITV Studios America.

Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV plc, said:

“We’re gathering real momentum in building a substantial US presence, which is central to our strategy of creating a strong international content business. The acquisition of Thinkfactory Media is clearly a further significant step forward in achieving that goal. Over the last two decades Leslie and his team have established a terrific reputation as a producer of great programmes across a range of genres and I’m delighted to welcome them to ITV Studios’ growing international family.”

Paul Buccieri, Managing Director of ITV Studios International and President and CEO of ITV Studios America, said:

"Through Leslie's vision and expert leadership Thinkfactory Media has become one of the most admired producers in the industry. Leslie can effortlessly flow between producing scripted and reality shows - a skill increasingly admired by cable TV buyers. I am very excited to be working with Leslie and the whole Thinkfactory Media team as they continue their growth."

Leslie Greif, Chief Executive Officer of Thinkfactory Media, said:

"We are thrilled to team up with Paul Buccieri and ITV, one of the world's most respected names in television. While retaining the independent spirit that keeps Thinkfactory Media creative, this relationship not only allows us to continue producing top-quality scripted and unscripted content, but enhances the potential for global distribution and our continued success in the marketplace.”

LA-based Thinkfactory Media was founded in 1992 by seasoned Hollywood producer, Leslie Greif.  Its portfolio includes reality and entertainment hits such as R&B Divas, Preachers’ Daughters, Marriage Bootcamp and The Hook-Up  as well as a new drama series, Texas Rangers, for the History Channel, which also aired Hatfields & McCoys. 

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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