Sony Pictures Entertainment acquires 2waytraffic

Mumbai: Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that it has successfully acquired control of the Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic. The acquisition gives SPE new capabilities in the global light entertainment market, which includes games, variety and reality shows, and gives SPE one of the largest gameshow portfolios in the world.

All the conditions of the public offer for 2waytraffic announced on 13 March have been satisfied or waived, and 2waytraffic has made application to cancel the admission to trading of all its shares on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. The offer from SPE to acquire 2waytraffic was for an initial cash consideration of £114.3 million.

"The acquisition of 2waytraffic is part of our strategy to expand global production and distribution of light entertainment content," said SPE chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. "This opens the door to new content for us, and brings to our business a solid distribution infrastructure, strengthening our position for an efficient roll-out of formats internationally."

"We’re excited about acquiring 2waytraffic because it will allow us to quickly grow our presence in the light entertainment arena," said Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) president Michael Grindon, the division of SPE responsible for all television business outside the United States. "Our extensive experience in local language television production, combined with 2waytraffic’s incredible interactive distribution expertise, makes for a union of complementary strengths."

2waytraffic chief executive officer Kees Abrahams will continue to lead 2waytraffic, which becomes a subsidiary of SPE. He will report to a board comprised of executives from 2waytraffic and SPTI.

Abrahams said, "I am delighted that 2waytraffic is now part of the Sony family. To be combining and consolidating our own ambitions with those of a company of the scope and reputation of Sony Pictures Entertainment is an incredibly exciting development that creates huge growth opportunities for the future."

Based in Hilversum, the Netherlands, 2waytraffic creates, produces, licenses and distributes light entertainment content across television, mobile and digital platforms. 2waytraffic has a strong portfolio of television formats, including You Are What You Eat, Take It Or Leave It, Brainiest and That’s The Question as well as one of the most successful game shows in recent history, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The acquisition of 2waytraffic builds on SPE’s already formidable array of creative assets and global capabilities. SPE has a deal in place with prolific producer, Michael Davies, and his production company, Embassy Row, to develop unscripted and scripted programming. Additionally, SPTI recently invested in the Dutch production company, Tuvalu Media, and it has also invested in production houses in the UK including Shine Productions and Gogglebox Entertainment. SPTI has also invested in the French production company, Starling, which produces the 2waytraffic format, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, for TF1.

In the US, SPE’s domestic TV group, Sony Pictures Television, produces two of the longest-lasting and most successful game shows in television history, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Outside the US, SPTI produces and distributes numerous successful and long-standing shows including The Newlywed Game, which has aired on France 2 for the past 11 years, Power of 10 and Dragons’ Den.

SPTI has also established itself in the production of scripted programming with popular shows such as Los Simuladores in Latin America, Post Mortem in Germany, and Coast Guard in Italy.

SPTI has produced over 9,000 hours of television programming in over 30 countries, with production offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Miami, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The division oversees the production and distribution of other light entertainment formats such as The Dating Game, The Gong Show, Pyramid, You’re Hired, Russian Roulette, Karaoke Showdown, Zulu Bingo, World Series of Pop Culture, Chain Reaction, Grand Slam and One Year Free.

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