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BBC Worldwide Eyes $61.3 Million Drama Deal With Danny Cohen’s Access

BBC Worldwide is reported to be eyeing a £50-million ($61.3-million) investment deal with Access Entertainment, which is led by former BBC senior executive Danny Cohen, to allow Access to ramp up its drama output.

BBCW, which is the U.K. broadcaster’s foreign sales arm, is in the last stages of negotiations with the television and film content fund, according to Broadcast magazine. The scripted shows greenlit by Access would be sold by BBCW in international markets.

A BBCW spokesperson told Variety: “BBC Worldwide has been exploring a number of ways to bring in third-party capital to support premium British drama investment. We have nothing further to announce or add at this moment.”

The move would be in line with comments made by BBCW chief executive Tim Davie at the Royal Television Society conference last month. Davie said that more than half of its revenues came from drama, and added that it was looking at ways to draw on funding for drama from third-parties.

“There is lots of capital out there, whether that’s private equity or other things. It’s all about the people, the culture, the returns they want, and the risk profile,” he said.

Cohen left the BBC, where he was in charge of its television output, late last year, and in May he joined Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, where he launched Access Entertainment. The banner is looking to invest in the entertainment sector with a particular focus on high-quality television drama and movies.

BBCW and Access Entertainment previously came together to co-invest in House Productions, the production company set up by former Film4 chief Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell. BBCW nabbed a 25% stake in the company and will handle foreign sales for its TV slate.

Access Industries also owns Aviv Giladi’s film finance outfit AI Film and Warner Music Group.

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