Warner Bros. Television Group has completed its
acquisition of a majority stake in the U.K. independent production and
distribution company Shed Media. The deal, which has been valued at around £100
million ($160 million) and was originally announced this summer, marks a major
expansion of the studio's efforts to produce programming outside the U.S.
In recent years, all of the international TV
divisions of major studios have moved to expand their international format and
local production businesses as a way of supplementing their much larger efforts
to sell U.S. TV and movie programming to international broadcasters and
Sony already owns production companies in a number
of European and Asian countries and the Shed deal indicates that Warner Bros.
is also looking to develop a group of international production companies. Most
of the other studios are actively selling formats of their shows to
international channels but have not as of yet acquired or started local
production companies outside the U.S.
"Today marks a significant first step in the
strategy we announced a year ago," said Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president of
Warner Bros. International Television, in a statement. "The acquisition of a
majority stake in one of the top multi-genre production companies in the U.K.
will establish a foundation for future expansion into other countries."
Shed Media is a major producer in the U.K., with six production
companies. It will remain independent, though its distribution arm will be
folded into Warner Bros. International Television Production.