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Sony Confirms Acquisition of ‘His Dark Materials’ Producer Bad Wolf, Buys Out Sky/HBO Minority Stake

Jane Tranter Julie Gardner
Courtesy of Bad Wolf

Sony Pictures Television has confirmed the long-rumored acquisition of U.K. independent production outfit Bad Wolf.

Bad Wolf’s credits include “His Dark Materials,” “Industry,” “The Night Of,” “A Discovery of Witches” and “I Hate Suzie.”

Sony has taken a majority stake in the company, which includes buying out the minority stakes held in Bad Wolf by Sky/HBO and Access Entertainment. The deal also includes the Wolf Studios Wales sound stage facility in Cardiff, Wales and Bad Wolf’s 30% stake in Bad Wolf America LLC.

While Sony declined to comment on the financial value of the deal, Variety understands that it is in the region of £60 million ($80 million).

Bad Wolf was launched in 2015 by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, the former BBC executives responsible for “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood” and “Da Vinci’s Demons,” to produce high-end TV and film for the global television market. The duo were at the helm of the BBC’s drama division until 2008, and, together with Russell T. Davies, relaunched “Doctor Who” in 2005 and created “Torchwood.” Both shows were produced in Wales and reignited the television industry in the country.

Los Angeles-based Bad Wolf America was formally set up as a U.S.-based sister company in 2019 and is run by Gardner. The company’s first series commission is an adaptation of Laura Lippman’s bestselling novel “Lady in the Lake” for Apple TV Plus, which will star Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o.

Tranter said: “The last five years since launching Bad Wolf have been a hugely rewarding experience as, with the support of Access Entertainment, Sky, and HBO, we built a production infrastructure and a creative community based out of Wolf Studios Wales that could compete with any TV production in the world.”

“Sony Pictures Television share our vision for the company going forward, and their immediate understanding and belief in the ethos of Bad Wolf make them the perfect partners for our future. With a forward-looking, global corporation like Sony investing in the future of Bad Wolf and Wales it gives us the ability to reach even greater heights in the years to come,” Tranter added.

Ravi Ahuja, chair, global television studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment corporate development, said: “The business is evolving as audiences everywhere become more attuned to content produced outside of their own cultures. This deal not only speaks to the high quality of talent we are proud to work with but also to our aim to create and deliver the most outstanding U.K. drama programs to the world.”

Wayne Garvie, president, international production, Sony Pictures Television, said: “In the blink of an eye, Bad Wolf has established itself as one of the world’s most admired drama producers. The quality of work, breadth of imagination and boundless ambition make it one of the great emerging production houses of our time. Jane and her team have built a tremendous business and established Wales as the home of some of the most fantastic tales of the age and now we aim to help them build still further. We are honored that they have chosen us as their partner for the next stage of their exhilarating adventure.”

Bad Wolf was advised on the transaction by GCA Altium, recently acquired by Houlihan Lokey (financial) and Wiggin (legal).

Sony’s recent investments in IP producers include children’s programming focused Silvergate Media in 2019, sports and live entertainment production outfit Whisper Films and “Sex Education” producer Eleven, both in 2020.