ITV Buys Firm that Produced Shaun of the Dead

ITV just bought Big Talk, the firm that produced Shaun of the Dead and several other hit films.  They acquired Big Talk for 12.5 million and will focus on distributing its catalogue of shows internationally. The price seems fairly low for a company that is producing some of the best comedy and drama on television today.

ITV Buys Shaun of the Dead Firm
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are shareholders in production company Big Talk, which has been bought by ITV

The film production company behind Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End has been snapped up by ITV for £12.5 million.

Actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are among shareholders who will gain from the sale of Big Talk as ITV continues its strategy of buying up independent film and television makers.

The company, which is also responsible for Channel 4 comedy series Friday Night Dinner as well as the BBC’s Rev and Him And Her, had been 25 per cent owned by the BBC’s Worldwide arm before today’s move.

It was founded in 1995 by Nira Park, producer of Channel 4′s Spaced, the critically-acclaimed series which featured Pegg and Frost and was directed by Edgar Wright.

The trio, who went on to collaborate on Big Talk’s most well-known films, are among a group of investors sharing a 10 per cent stake in the company, who will gain just over £150,000 each from the sale.

But it is Park together with chief executive Kenton Allen and managing director Matthew Justice who stand to net the most – jointly owning a 65 per cent portion valued at £8.1 million by the sale.

The initial payment of around £12.5 million is dependent on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance, with additional payments linked to profits over the next five years.

ITV said it was one of the UK’s fastest growing scripted film and television production companies and responsible for some of the most successful comedy and cutting edge drama of recent years.

Friday Night Dinner, Rev and Him And Her are all expected to return to screens over the next six months while forthcoming TV commissions include Ambassadors, starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, for BBC2.

Under the new agreement, ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute all of Big Talk’s new television content and help the company grow internationally, especially in the US market. BBC Worldwide will retain the global distribution rights to Big Talk’s back catalogue and future UK series based on those programmes.

ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said: “The acquisition of Big Talk represents another important milestone as we continue to grow our production base and invest in creative talent.”

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ITV has been very aggressive with its investments over recent years. It’s a wise thing to do and positions them as the leader in cutting edge popular entertainment. We tip our hat to ITV and wish them the best with Big Talk.

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