×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Former News Corp. Exec David Haslingden Sells Business to Blue Ant (EXCLUSIVE)

Producer, distributor, and channel operator Blue Ant Media has bought Racat Group, the media firm set up by former Fox Networks Group president and Rupert Murdoch lieutenant David Haslingden. Under the cash-plus-equity deal, Haslingden will retain a significant stake in the enlarged Blue Ant.

The agreement gives Toronto-based Blue Ant natural-history producer NHNZ, Australian production company Northern Pictures, and Singapore’s Beach House Pictures. It also gets DirecTV joint-venture kids net ZooMoo and mobile-games business Runaway Play.

The deal has been a long time in the making, Michael MacMillan, Blue Ant CEO, told Variety. “It positions us more deeply in the international market and in content creation,” he said. “We have a significant new shareholder with David, and with Ward Platt and the executives in the Racat Group, we have significantly grown our senior executive team.”

Haslingden will sit on the Blue Ant board. He was president of Fox Networks Group, News Corp.’s international TV channels business. Before that he was global chief of National Geographic Channels. He exited in 2012.

“While the Racat businesses have achieved a lot in the last five years, there’s no doubt those achievements will be dwarfed by what we get done in the next five as part of Blue Ant Media,” he said.

Ward Platt, a former Fox and Nat Geo channels exec, will become CEO of kids and global networks at Blue Ant in September, overseeing its linear nets and streaming services everywhere except New Zealand and Canada. He will be based in L.A.

NHNZ is one of the best-known global wildlife producers and recently co-produced “Big Pacific” with PBS, Arte, CCTV, Discovery, ZDF, and Australia’s Channel 9. Kyle Murdoch will remain at the helm under the new ownership.

Beach House’s managing director, Jocelyn Little, and creative director, Donovan Chan, will remain at the helm of the Singapore-based production company, which produces for Discovery and Nat Geo. Similarly, Sue Clothier will stay in charge of Northern Pictures.

Blue Ant has a range of channels and streaming services that will benefit from a pipeline of factual programming, including the Smithsonian Channel and BBC Earth in Canada, HGTV in New Zealand, and the Love Nature SVOD service, which just launched on Amazon Channels as part of its U.K. rollout.

More TV

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Skam Season 2 Bows on Movistar

    Spanish Remake Of 'Skam' Returns to Movistar + on March 28

    MADRID — Movistar +, the pay TV unit of telco giant Telefonica, has set a March 28 release for Season 2 of “Skam España,” the Spanish remake of Norwegian cult web-TV hit teen drama “Skam” (“Shame”) whose plot, at least in the second season, begins to diverge from the Nordic original. Produced in collaboration with [...]

  • HBO Asia Unveils Three New Originals,

    HBO Asia Unveils Slate of Originals, Renews ‘Teenage Psychic’ for Second Season

    HBO Asia has unveiled a trio of new original series and a second season of its hit “The Teenage Psychic.” The new shows bring the number of original series commissioned and distributed by the Singapore-based offshoot of HBO to 15. “Dream Raider” will be HBO Asia’s first Asian sci-fi drama, an eight-episode hour-long series that [...]

  • Supergirl -- "O Brother, Where Art

    Jon Cryer Breaks Down Playing 'Sociopath' Lex Luthor on 'Supergirl'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” the Mar. 17 episode of “Supergirl.” After seasons of build-up, Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) made his “Supergirl” debut in the fourth season episode entitled “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Initially, the supervillain positioned himself as a sick man, eager [...]

  • George M. Lehr Dead: Man From

    George M. Lehr, 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' Associate Producer, Dies at 87

    George M. Lehr, associate producer on such classic TV series as “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Police Woman,” and later a professor at USC’s School of Cinema & Television, died March 14, in Erie, Pa., after a short illness. He was 87. Lehr worked on television shows at MGM, 20th Century-Fox and Columbia for more [...]

  • FilMart: HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink

    FilMart: HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink Praises Local Content Strategy

    CEO of HBO Asia since 2003, Jonathan Spink has seen the growth of pay-TV in Asia, the moves towards content localization and original production, and has faced up to the challenge of internet-based streaming services. He joins Variety on Monday in a keynote presentation at Hong Kong’s FilMart, and is expected to unveil an expanded [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content