Television

Warner Bros TV signs acquisition of Eyeworks’ operations in 15 countries, except US

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MUMBAI: Warner Bros Television Group has entered into an agreement to acquire independent television production company Eyeworks Group’s businesses in 15 countries across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand for $273 million.

The acquisition, which does not include Eyeworks’ operations in the US, will add 13 new territories to Warner Bros Television’s network of production companies, according to a statement from Warner Bros Television.

Once completed, this acquisition will further strengthen Warner Bros' international television production capabilities and also see Warner Bros take over all of Eyeworks' international distribution activities.

Warner Bros Television is expected to complete the acquisition of Eyeworks later in 2014, subject to regulatory approvals.

The announcement was made by Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution President Jeffrey Schlesinger, Warner Bros Television Group President, Business and Strategy Craig Hunegs, Warner Bros Television Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth and Eyeworks Group Founder and current Chief Executive Officer Reinout Oerlemans.

Founded in The Netherlands by Oerlemans in 2001, Eyeworks is a major international independent producer and distributor of scripted and non-scripted content across a range of genres, including entertainment, drama and film, which airs in more than 150 countries worldwide.

The acquisition of Eyeworks will mark a milestone for Warner Bros International Television Production, led by Warner Bros International Television Production  Head and Executive Vice President Ronald Goes, which was originally formed in 2009 to establish operating production companies.

Warner Bros Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tsujihara said: “Our proposed acquisition of Eyeworks' 15 local production companies, represents a significant next step in our strategy, further strengthening Warner Bros' position in global television."  

Hunegs, Schlesinger and Roth added: "This is an important move for the Warner Bros Television Group, as we establish local production companies around the world, each with a mandate to develop original local programming and adapt the output from the studio. We see Eyeworks as a strong complement to our existing US and international production capabilities."

This follows the acquisition in 2010 of Shed Media, a leading production company in the UK, and in 2011, BlazHoffski in The Netherlands and Belgium.

In connection with the transaction, Reinout Oerlemans would move to Los Angeles for his new role in the industry, as Chairman of Eyeworks USA, leading the further expansion of that company in the US. Reinout will step down as CEO of the Eyeworks Group once the acquisition is completed.

Oerlemans said: "For Eyeworks, this is a defining step towards our ongoing objective to be a major player in content production around the globe. I realise this is the end of an era, because I will no longer be the CEO of the Group, after an amazing period of 12.5 years.”

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