Warner Bros. Television Group Enters Into Agreement to Acquire the Eyeworks Group in Deal That Grows International TV Production Business.
As part of the studio’s television growth strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire(1) all Eyeworks’ businesses outside the US, in 15 countries across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand, adding 13 new territories to its network of production companies. Once completed, this acquisition will further strengthen Warner Bros.’ international television production capabilities and see Warner Bros. take over all of Eyeworks’ international distribution activities.
The announcement was made by Jeffrey Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, Craig Hunegs President, Business and Strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group, Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group and Reinout Oerlemans, Founder and current Chief Executive Officer of the Eyeworks Group.
Founded in The Netherlands by Oerlemans in 2001, Eyeworks is a major international independent producer and distributor of scripted and non-scripted content across a range of genres, including entertainment, drama and film, which airs in more than 150 countries worldwide.
The pending acquisition of Eyeworks marks a milestone for Warner Bros. International Television Production, led by Ronald Goes, Executive Vice President & Head of Warner Bros. International Television Production, which was originally formed by WBTVG in 2009 to establish operating production companies.
Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment, said: “Our proposed acquisition of Eyeworks’ 15 local production companies, represents a significant next step in our strategy, further strengthening Warner Bros.’ position in global television.”
Hunegs, Schlesinger and Roth added: “This is an important move for the Warner Bros. Television Group, as we establish local production companies around the world, each with a mandate to develop original local programming and adapt the output from the studio. We see Eyeworks as a strong complement to our existing US and international production capabilities.”
This follows the acquisition in 2010 of Shed Media, one of the leading production companies in the UK, and in 2011, BlazHoffski in The Netherlands and Belgium.
In connection with the transaction, Reinout Oerlemans would move to Los Angeles for his new role in the industry, as Chairman of Eyeworks USA, leading the further expansion of that company in the USA. Reinout will step down as CEO of the Eyeworks Group once the acquisition has been completed.
Oerlemans said: “It’s fair to say that it got me thinking when Warner Bros. showed the strong interest in Eyeworks. For Eyeworks, this is a defining step towards our ongoing objective to be a major player in content production around the globe. I realize this is the end of an era, because I will no longer be the CEO of the Group, after an amazing period of 12.5 years since I’ve built the company from scratch together with Ronald van Wechem and Robert van den Bogaard. Together with CFO Jan Peter Kerstens we have created Eyeworks as what it is today: a creative and versatile content company, operating as a tight knit web around the world. I know Ronald Goes will be a tremendous leader for this fantastic group of talented people going forward.”
(1)The acquisition of Eyeworks is expected to be complete later in 2014, subject to regulatory approvals.