Sports specialist ups profile in reality arena

Confirming more than two weeks of speculation, U.S.-owned sports specialist TWI is buying Darlow Smithson Prods., a U.K. indie producer of nonfiction programming, for a reported $34 million in what is expected to be the first of several acquisitions by TWI.

Move will allow TWI, owned by New York-based finance group Forstmann Little, to raise its profile in the factual arena. DSP is one of the U.K.’s most highly regarded makers of documentaries and drama documentaries.

Its annual revenues were $34 million on the back of more than 100 hours of programming. Some 75% of its business is generated from outside the U.K., with much of it in North America.

Clients include Discovery in the U.S., which recently commissioned it for a second season of “I Shouldn’t Be Alive,” and Channel 4 in Blighty. But perhaps its highest-profile success is theatrical hit “Touching the Void.”

Alastair Waddington, TWI’s senior VP production and business development, said: “DSP harnesses some of the industry’s most creative and technical talent, and we look forward to its continued success and growth, while maintaining its distinctive identity.”

The next U.K. producer on TWI’s hit list is Tiger Aspect, the entertainment specialist with a track record in creating hit shows for Blighty’s terrestrial webs.

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