Sweden's Zodiak Television, which already controls such outfits as Jarowskij, MTV Mastiff, Mastiff, Social Club and Diverse Production, has purchased film and television production outfit Yellow Bird.

During the last two years Yellow Bird has produced 13 films totalling $28.4 million based on Swedish author Henning Mankell's books about Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander.

The three owners - Mankell, Ole Sondberg, who will continue as CEO and creative director, and Lars Björkmann - have sold 100% of the company to Zodiak, which accordingly 'has strengthened its position as a leading drama producer in the Nordic countries,' according to concern chief Patrick Svensk. 'I am very impressed by Yellow Bird's work and proud to welcome them to the family.'

While preparing for another package of 13 Wallander movies, Ystad-based Yellow Bird is currently in production on six features from Swedish author Helene Tursten's novels about detective inspector Irene Huss, played by Angela Kovács. Co-produced by Illusion Film, with Germany's Degeto, Sweden's Channel 5 and Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst, they started shooting last month.

The company has also bought the rights for a series of books by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, to be scripted by British writer Ed Whitmore, and realised in collaboration with Swedish Television SVT. Whitmore has also written a screenplay based on Mankell's The Return Of The Dancing Master, which has been negotiated with UK producers. Svensk estimated Yellow Bird would reach an annual turnover of $7.1 million during the next years.