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U.K. Pay TV Operator BSkyB Takes Majority Stake in Love Productions

U.K. pay TV operator BSkyB has acquired a 70% stake in Love Prods., one of the U.K.’s leading independent production companies, as part of the satcaster’s strategy to broaden its production base.

Love, which was founded in October 2004 by Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie, has production bases in London, Bristol, New York and Los Angeles. Its formats include “Great British Bake-off” and “Great British Sewing Bee,” and documentaries such as “Baby Borrowers,” “Famous Rich and Homeless,” “Benefits Street,” “Make Bradford British” and “My Last Summer.”

Love will continue to produce programs for all the major U.K. broadcasters, as well as creating programs and formats for sale around the world. McKerrow and Beattie will continue to run the company with the current senior management team.

BSkyB’s international distribution business, Sky Vision, will become Love’s distribution partner, representing all new finished programs and formats. Love’s agreements with other broadcasters and distributors will remain unchanged.

Sky Vision deals extensively with independent producers, sourcing programming for distribution, largely from the U.K. and U.S. It has development deals with a number of production companies, including Ugly Brother Studios in the U.S., and in the U.K. with back2back Productions and Roughcut TV. The investment in Love is part of its “strategy to grow a broad, international content business,” the company said Monday.

Sophie Turner Laing, managing director, content, BSkyB, said: “This is a significant step for our growing international content business. Love is one of the U.K.’s most innovative and creative independent producers with a track record of success across a range of genres, both in the U.K. and globally. Led by Richard and Anna, Love has a hugely talented team with exciting plans for the future. We are really looking forward to supporting them as they build on their relationships with different broadcasters throughout the industry and helping them to grow the business.”

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