Big Talk Productions, the company behind The World’s End and Sightseers, has been acquired by ITV for $19.2m (£12.5m).
The UK commercial broadcaster has fended off competition from Big Talk’s other suitors, including News Corp-owened Shine Group.
ITV will pay an initial cash consideration “in the region of” $19.2m (£12.5m), which will dependent on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance.
It will make further “capped cash payments” over the next five years which could double its investment to around $45m (£25-£30m) if the independent production company can hit certain growth targets.
Big Talk, which is run by joint chief executives Kenton Allen and Nira Park and managing director Matthew Justice, has been considering its options since January.
The indie’s five-year output deal with BBC Worldwide was up for renewal in August. The BBC’s commercial arm will continue to have a relationship with the indie as it continues to own rights to productions developed with Big Talk over the past five years.
However, BBCW stands to make a substantial windfall on the sale. The 25% stake it took in Big Talk in 2008 for $2.5m (£1.6m) is now worth at least $5m (£3.13m) under the ITV deal.
Big Talk was founded in 1995 by Park and the company’s first television series was Spaced, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Nick Frost.
Pegg, Wright and Frost are minority shareholders in the company.
Other TV series made by the company include Rev and Him & Her for the BBC; Black Books and Friday Night Dinner for Channel 4; and A Young Doctor’s Notebook for Sky, which stars Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm.
In film, Big Talk most notably produced Edgar Wright trilogy Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. It has also produced Ben Wheatley’s dark comedy Sightseers, Joe Cornish’s urban alien invasion film Attack the Block and the upcoming Cuban Fury, starring Nick Frost.
Big Talk Pictures will co-produce superhero movie Ant-Man with Marvel Studios, directed by Wright and scheduled for release in 2015.
ITV Studios managing director Kevin Lygo said: “Great comedy is an important part of the genre mix for broadcasters around the world and it’s fantastic that Big Talk is joining us.
“They have a brilliant track record in creating channel defining, returning scripted comedy and drama across many different channels, and they are also developing some fantastic new shows that have the potential to travel internationally.”
Allen added: “This marks our next phase of delivering quality comedy and ambitious original drama as we push into the international marketplace and really show the world what we can do.”
Big Talk is on course to post revenues of $35m (£23m) this year. It recorded revenues of $16.9m (£11m) in the 12 months to the end of June 2012, a marginal increase on the previous year’s turnover of $16.6m (£10.8m).
Big Talk is ITV’s the seventh indie acquisition in less than a year, with other UK additions including So Television and The Garden Productions. Its last purchase was Hatfields & McCoys producer Thinkfactory Media last month.