Pearson goes global via Grundy purchase

Pearson, the British media group, has taken a big step forward in its global TV ambitions by agreeing to buy international television producer Grundy Worldwide for $279 million.

The surprise deal, which was initiated by Greg Dyke, the newly appointed chairman and chief exec of Pearson TV, means Grundy has aborted its plans for a public offering on the New York and Australian stock exchanges.

“We are buying a major television business that will fit extremely well with our existing interests,” said Dyke. “This purchase transforms us from a national to an international producer.”

“Grundy has a legendary reputation for efficient financial management of its productions in different markets, and I see the acquisition as a vital ingredient in our overall strategy,” he said.

Reg Grundy, the Australian founder and 85% shareholder of the company that bears his name, said, “Clearly this has been one of the most important decisions of my life. There are benefits in remaining an independent company, but in the current fast-changing world of global media, the advantages of teaming up with a company the size and scope of Pearson are self-evident.”

Strong in Oz

Grundy Worldwide specializes in producing local versions of long-running soaps and gameshows around the world. It is particularly strong in Australia, where it started 37 years ago, and in Europe; its presence in North America is relatively weak.

Pearson’s existing TV production interests include Thames TV, the U.K.’s largest indie, as well as Financial Times TV, a spinoff from the newspaper, which Pearson also owns. It has minority stakes in several terrestrial and satellite broad casters in the U.K., including the ITV company Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, British Sky Broadcasting, UK Gold and UK Living. It is also part of a consortium bidding for the U.K.’s Channel 5 license.

Internationally, Pearson has a strategic alliance with the BBC to launch cable and satellite channels around the world, starting earlier this year with two Euro webs. It recently acquired a 10% stake in Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, which also involves an alliance in India with TVB and the Hindustan Times.

Pearson identified three main reasons for buying Grundy: Grundy’s good financial health; its experience at adapting shows to different local markets; and its management skills and library, which will help expand Pearson’s international broadcasting interests. Dyke highlighted Asia as a region where Grundy’s expertise would be particularly valuable in helping Pearson to establish its presence.

More TV

  • Democratic Presidential candidate, former NYC Mayor

    Democratic Debate: Mike Bloomberg Slams Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Hammers Both

    Mike Bloomberg threw his first punch early in Tuesday’s Democratic Debate in South Carolina, taking aim at Bernie Sanders over recent reports that Russian hackers are trying to assist his campaign for the presidency. Bloomberg, the billionaire owner of Bloomberg News and former New York City mayor, responded to Sander’s opening remarks about economic equality [...]


    TV News Roundup: Netflix Unveils 'Self Made' Trailer Starring Octavia Spencer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix released the trailer for “Self Made: Inspired By the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” and HBO announced a premiere date for “Betty.”  FIRST LOOKS Netflix released the official trailer “Self Made: Inspired By the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.” Executive produced by and starring Octavia Spencer, the four-part limited [...]

  • Amanda Warren

    Amanda Warren Joins Patrick Dempsey in CBS Political Pilot 'Ways and Means'

    Amanda Warren has been cast alongside Patrick Dempsey in the CBS drama pilot “Ways and Means.” In the pilot, a powerful Congressional leader (Dempsey) who has lost faith in politics finds himself working secretly with an idealistic young Congresswoman (not yet cast) from the opposing party to subvert the hopelessly gridlocked system he helped create. [...]

  • Baby Yoda featured image

    Questions Remain for Disney Plus, Hulu Amid Iger-Chapek CEO Transition

    In a surprise announcement, Bob Iger said he was stepping down as Disney’s chief exec citing “the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses” as one reason for the timing as he hands off to new CEO Bob Chapek. True, Disney earlier this month reported tremendous growth for Disney Plus, racking up 28.6 million users just [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    European Industry Buoyed by Weinstein Verdict: 'Things Have Irrevocably Changed'

    Global film and TV executives, including “Elizabeth” producer Alison Owen and “Shakespeare in Love” producer David Parfitt, have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict, calling it a “seismic” victory that will bring about immutable change. Monday’s long-awaited outcome to the U.S. trial, which saw Weinstein convicted of sexual assault and third-degree rape, has been [...]

  • Liza Lapira

    Queen Latifah's 'Equalizer' Reboot Pilot at CBS Casts Liza Lapira

    Liza Lapira has signed on to the “Equalizer” reboot pilot currently in the works at CBS, Variety has learned. She joins previously announced series lead Queen Latifah. In the new version of the series, Queen Latifah portrays Robyn McCall, an enigmatic figure who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. Lapira [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content