Discovery Acquires U.K. Indie Betty

Discovery Communications has acquired the U.K. based factual entertainment and formats production company betty, which has been responsible for such formats as Freaky Eaters.

TLC in the U.S. has also commissioned two runs of that format and the deal is expected to lead to the production of other programs and formats for Discovery's channels around the world.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The production company will continue to be managed by its founders and operate independently from its London headquarters, where all of its current staff will be retained, the two companies reported. 

The deal will give the award-winning production company, which is managed by founder and CEO Liz Warner, head of production Sophy Walker and creative director Walter Iuzzolino, access to Discovery's global infrastructure and money to expand its worldwide operations.

In making the announcement, Discovery noted that the deal was part of its efforts to broaden its programming and expanding the creative output of its U.K.-based International operation so that it can better develop, source and produce content for all of Discovery's networks around the world. 

"This is a global deal, and Discovery looks forward to providing the infrastructure and resources of our global platform of 142 networks in 210 countries to enable betty to extend their content to our channels in the US and around the world," noted Lee Bartlett, executive VP of global production management, business and legal affairs for Discovery Communications, in a statement. "We are looking forward to betty infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with award-winning storytelling that will be seen on TLC and Discovery's channels around the world."

Under the agreement, betty will develop and produce new ideas and formats for Discovery's factual and lifestyle channels and Discovery will have the option to acquire formats from betty's programming library.

In 2001, betty was founded by the former BBC and Channel 4 commissioning editor Liz Warner to produce primetime contemporary factual television for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky. The company's hit formats include Freaky Eaters, Beauty and the Beast, Food Hospital and Country House Rescue, which have been sold to countries around the world.

Media corporate finance firm Clarity and Wiggin solicitors advised the shareholders of betty on the deal.

HRO Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.