Home Entertainment BBC Studios Buys ITV Stake in BritBox International for $322 Million

BBC Studios Buys ITV Stake in BritBox International for $322 Million

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BBC Studios has bought British broadcaster ITV‘s 50% stake in streamer BritBox International for £255 million ($322 million), the companies revealed on Friday.

The streamer was founded in 2017 as a joint venture between BBC Studios, which is the commercial arm of the British broadcaster, and ITV. “The transaction will provide net proceeds including loan repayments and accrued dividends and after tax of around £235 million,” the companies said.

“The sale reflects ITV’s strategy of focusing on supercharging its U.K. advertiser-funded streaming service, ITVX and growing its global Studios division,” ITV added. “The board intends to return the entire net sale proceeds to shareholders through a share buyback which it expects to launch imminently after the full-year results on March 7.”

Under the terms of the agreement, ITV Studios 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. BritBox U.K. will remain unaffected and will still feature BBC content as part of separate long-term agreements. In 2022, ITV had bought out the BBC’s share of BritBox U.K. ahead of the launch of ITVX.

BritBox International, designed as a “best of British” streamer, is available across the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The service has grown subscribers by over 300% in the past four years, with more than 3.75 million subscribers and has an enterprise value of some £500 million. Recent hits include “Archie,” “Death in Paradise,” “Father Brown,” “Line of Duty,” “Sherwood” and “Shetland.”

The service will now become part of BBC Studios’ global media and streaming division, which includes BBC.com, BBC Select, the BBC’s premium ad-free documentary streaming service in North America and BBC Podcast Premium, an audio service available in more than 160 countries.

Rebecca Glashow, BBC Studios global media and streaming CEO said: “I am thrilled to further our involvement in BritBox International – it’s a profitable business and a winning proposition. 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.”

BritBox International global CEO Reemah Sakaan is stepping down. 

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 U.K. 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.”

Carolyn McCall, ITV CEO, added: “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.”