The UK’s Tinopolis Group is bolstering its U.S. presence with the acquisition of Magical Elves. Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth lead the Emmy-winning Magical Elves which was founded in 2001 and makes such shows as Top Chef and Cold Justice. It also developed and produced Project Runway for Bravo (now on Lifetime). On the feature side, Magical Elves has produced concert doc Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Follow-up, Katy Perry: Part Of Me, was Cutforth and Lipsitz’s directorial debut and the duo’s second feature as directors, Under The Electric Sky, premiered in Sundance last month. Cutforth and Lipsitz will continue to run Magical Elves under the Tinopolis Group, in which they become shareholders via the new deal. Tinopolis previously acquired A. Smith & Co and Base Productions in 2011 and also owns Pioneer, Mentorn Media, Passion Distribution and Firecracker. The group’s chairman, Ron Jones, said today, “Tinopolis has a clear strategy to continue building an international media business with a strong and diversified revenue base, producing quality programs in its home territories for the worldwide market. This is another important acquisition for us, strengthening our commitment to U.S.-based production. Magical Elves is a great company with exceptional creative leaders. We look forward to welcoming Dan and Jane to our team.” Today’s acquisition announcement, for which financials were not disclosed, is part of a growing trend that sees UK …
Sally Miles’ UK-based Passion Distribution exclusively distributes content for U.S. broadcasters and producers including Scripps Network International, Sundance Channel, OWN, The Weather Channel and World of Wonder. Growing indie producer/distributor Tinopolis has acquired the four-year-old company to expand its international reach. In 2011, Tinopolis acquired Hell’s Kitchen producer A. Smith & Co. and L.A. & DC-based Base Productions. It also owns factual producer Mentorn Media, sports producer Sunset + Vine and drama outfit Daybreak. Under the terms of the acquisition, Tinopolis’ existing distribution arm Mentorn International and its 2,500 hours of programming including the first two seasons of Ricky Gervais’ An Idiot Abroad, will be folded into Passion and overseen by Miles.
John Brenkus and Mickey Stern’s BASE Prods. has become the latest U.S. independent production company in the unscripted TV space to be acquired by a large European company. UK’s Tinopolis Group has bought BASE, which has offfices in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, as well as its catalog that includes such programs as Sport Science, Fight Science, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files and Police POV. The pricetag is said to be around $75 million, a little less than the $95-$100 million Tinopolis recently paid for another U.S. independent company, A. Smith and Co. Both deals have a very similar structure. Like A. Smith, Base will keep its independence, continuing operations from in its facilities in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, with Brenkus and Stern signing multi-year contracts to stay at the helm of the company. In addition, the BASE principals will become significant shareholders and members of the Tinopolis Group management team. Brenkus will have a seat on the Tinopolis Group’s North American Board, and Stern will be a member of the Board of the parent company.
A. Smith & Co Prods Merges With UK-Based Tinopolis Group For $100M Deal Creating Reality TV Powerhouse
Insiders are speculating the deal is worth upwards of $100 million:
London / Los Angeles – June 28, 2011 – The Tinopolis Group and A. Smith & Co. Productions announced today that the two entities have joined forces by bringing A. Smith & Co. and its decade of success developing and producing some of the most notable unscripted television programming seen around the world under the Tinopolis Group, creating a transatlantic television powerhouse. A. Smith & Co. will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity based in Los Angeles joining and working with Tinopolis Group’s other companies which include television production entity Mentorn and sports television producer Sunset + Vine. The announcement was made today by Ron Jones, Executive Chairman of Tinopolis Group, and Arthur Smith, Founder and CEO of A. Smith & Co., who will join the Tinopolis Board of Directors and continue to lead the company alongside his partner and company President, Kent Weed.
Under this agreement A. Smith & Co. becomes the leading North American television production entity within the Tinopolis organization with the ability to tap into the company’s resources on a worldwide basis. This transaction brings together the financial resources and expertise of Tinopolis, one of the UK’s leading producers of media and programming, and its primary investor, private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, and A. Smith & Co.’s leadership which has pioneered genres and delivered ratings hits such as “Paradise Hotel”, “The Swan,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Trading Spaces,” “Kitchen Nightmares,” “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” and “Pros vs. Joes.”