Television Business International

Warner Bros. tipped to buy Eyeworks

Eyeworks_Celebrity_SplashWarner Bros. wants to buy Dutch production group Eyeworks and is in advanced talks with its shareholders, local reports are claiming.

Time Warner-owned Warner Bros. has been looking to build its international business and has set its sight on Celebrity Splash producer, according to reports in the Netherlands.

The deal is not yet finalised but is thought to be at an advanced stage.

Warner Bros.’s International Television Production division had been in the market to acquire the other major Netherlands-based production group, Endemol, which produces Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

Besides the wide-selling Celebrity Splash diving format, Eyeworks is known for formats such as Beat the Blondes. The company reported revenues of US$250 million in 2012.

Among its major shareholders are founder Reinout Oerlemans and Endemol co-founder Joop Van den Ende.

Eyeworks hired bank Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale in 2011 after several expressions of interest. This ultimately lead to nothing with Eyeworks management saying it wanted the company to remain independent.

Eyeworks operates across Europe in he Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Portugal; has a US arm that created Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition for ABC and produces the same network’s local Celebrity Splash remake; is active in Latin America; and produces in Australasia.

The privately-owned firm was founded in 2001.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the reports, while Eyeworks had not responded to requests to comment before press time.