Civilian Content, the UK media concern which owns National Lottery franchise The Film Consortium and sales outfit The Sales Co, has cemented its move into TV by agreeing to acquire Isis Productions.
Civilian is buying the production company, which specialises in music programming such as the Classic Albums series, from its management team and majority shareholder, Westpool Investment Trust, a subsidiary of venture capital company London Merchant Securities.
Civilian said the move means it has an active production company with a niche library of factual programming and access to cash worth $1m (£750,000). The AIM-listed concern is funding the purchase with 2,771,428 of its ordinary shares, which will rank pari passu with existing issued shares.
"This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to expanding our television production business," said Richard Holmes, managing director of Civilian Content. "It brings in-house producers with excellent television production skills and broadcast relationships. It has always been our mission to create, own and control television content for children and families and Isis fits the bill. We are delighted that they have agreed to join our growing stable of independent producers and feel that their acquisition marks a significant milestone in the development of our commercial television production business."
This latest move follows the appointment of David Elstein, former chief executive of UK broadcaster Channel 5, to the Civilian Content board earlier this year.
Founded in 1991, Isis has extended its repertoire to documentary and children's programming such as England's Other Elizabeth, a profile of Elizabeth Taylor for the BBC, and Thanks for the Mammaries, a BSkyB title about The Sun newspaper's page 3 topless girls. Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2000 were $43,000 (£31,000), with a turnover of $1.2m (£900,000).
"The merging of our company with Civilian Content provides us with the ability to retain valuable source rights," said Jamie Rugge-Price, joint-founder and director of Isis. "This transaction will also allow for an increase in the development of new programmes."