BBC Studios Buys ITV Out Of Joint Streamer BritBox International For $322M

BBC Studios Buys ITV Out Of Joint Streamer BritBox International For $322M

BBC Studios has paid £255M ($322M) to acquire ITV‘s shareholding in their joint venture streamer, BritBox International — the biggest ever single transaction for the BBC’s commercial wing.

In a regulatory note confirming the sale this morning, ITV confirmed it had sold its 50%, with the proceeds set to return to shareholders through a share buyback scheme that will launch after full-year results are posted on March 7. The BBC subsequently confirmed the deal in a separate statement.

As a result, BritBox International CEO Reemah Sakaan will exit the business, which will join the BBC Studios Global Media & Streaming division alongside the likes of, BBC Select and BBC Podcast Premium. The BBC said new leaderships plans are “in place to ensure a smooth transition” and will be announced “imminently,” with Sakaan understood to be remaining with BritBox during the transition period.

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The deal values BritBox International, which has nearly four million subscribers in eight territories, at over £500M. We understand the deal is the biggest single agreement BBC Studios has ever struck.

BritBox UK, in which ITV owns 100% of the shares, is unaffected by the deal. BBC Studios content will remain on that service as part of separate long-term agreements.

Tom Fussell, BBC Studios CEO, said: “This is an important acquisition for us. We are taking full ownership of a successful, growing service we know well and that fits with our stated ambition to double the size of our business. Britbox International has British content at its heart and it generates and satisfies demand for British shows outside the UK. We will continue to make significant investments in the future to deliver long term value to the BBC.

“I’d like to thank Reemah for her outstanding contribution to BritBox International, which under her stewardship has seen remarkable year-on-year growth.”

Sakaan said the “historic deal recognizes the strategic vision and creativity that has built the business over the past seven years.”

“To take an idea from a post-it note to 3.75 million passionate subscribers around the world, has been a career thrill I couldn’t be more proud of, she added. “ITV and BBC Studios have been nurturing shareholders and I know BBC Studios will continue to harness the successful and ambitious DNA of what we have created.”

Rebecca Glashow, BBC Studios Global Media & Streaming CEO added BritBox International is “a profitable business and a winning proposition,” adding: “We see tremendous opportunity to grow this unique service and take it to even greater heights for its subscribers, with the full power of the BBC behind it.”

Concerned producers have reached out to us, with BritBox International considered a key buyer for many. A BBC Studios spokesperson said the new arrangement would not impact commissioning plans.

“BritBox International will continue to commission from a wide range of UK indies, as well as BBC Studios and ITV, in order to bring the best in British entertainment to international subscribers all in one place,” they said. “There are no plans to change the programming or acquisition strategy.”

ITV said it is exiting to focus on growth of its own streamer, ITVX, and its global ITV Studios division and will redirect efforts in that direction following the deal.

ITV Studios, the sales and production arm of ITV, will continue to receive an “ongoing revenue stream from BritBox International similar to current levels for the use of ITV content under new extended licensing agreements.”

Carolyn McCall, ITV CEO, said: “The sale of 50% of BritBox International means ITV is focused on its core strategic goals of continuing to build on ITVX’s success and growing ITV Studios.

“I would like to thank the BritBox International team for making the company such a success and particularly CEO Reemah Sakaan for her leadership, drive and vision.”

BBC Studios and ITV launched the biz in 2017 to tap into demand for British content in North America and other select markets. The service has grown its subscribers number by over 300% in the past four years, and is now nearing 3.8 million.

BritBox International is currently available in eight countries — the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Africa, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, offering shows such as Archie, Death in Paradise, Father Brown, Line of Duty, Sherwood and Shetland.

This comes at the end of a busy week for both ITV Studios and BBC Studios, who have been shopping their latest slates to international buyers at their London TV Screenings and BBC Studios Showcase events in London.