Discovery Communications continued to beef up its international presence Monday, announcing the acquisition of London-based independent production house Raw. Terms were not disclosed.
Discovery already has a relationship with the independent since 2001– Raw is the producer of the Discovery Channel series Gold Rush, Unexplained Files for Science and Discovery Networks International and Dangerous Persuasions for ID. Under the agreement, Raw will be able to expand into scripted programming as well as produce high-quality independent films. Raw will continue to operate independently from its London headquarters, and all of Raw’s current staff will be retained.
“Discovery is committed to working with the best creatives in the business, and Raw stands apart not only as one of the finest in the UK, but also one of the best in the world,” said Discovery Studios and Production Group president Lee Bartlett in a statement. “We want Raw to maintain the identity and culture that has allowed them to produce such high-quality programming. We are looking forward to Raw infusing our ever-expanding creative pipeline with compelling stories that will be seen on Discovery’s networks around the world.”
The announcement comes on the same day Discovery is launching AHC: American Heroes Channel, its newest network brand. Currently in nearly 62 million homes, AHC provides a glimpse into major events that shaped the world, leaders and unexpected heroes who made a difference.
Discovery has made several moves recently in the international market – last month it accelerated its agreement to increase its stake in European sports programmer TF1 by about one year. The programmer is reportedly also among the bidders for U.K. broadcast network Channel 5.
Raw was founded in 2001 by Dimitri Douganis and is managed by Douganis, creative director Bart Layton, CEO Joely Fether and managing director Piers Vellacott.
In addition to its programming for Discovery, Raw produces hits such as Locked Up Abroad for National Geographic and Paranormal Witness
“We have been working with Discovery for years now; we know each other well and understand each other,” Douganis said in a statement. “It feels like an incredibly exciting creative partnership made possible by the amazing team at Raw whose commitment and storytelling skills have generated so many successes. I’m delighted that this deal will give us the resources and the freedom we need for the next phase of our growth.”
Media corporate finance firm About Corporate Finance and Wiggin solicitors advised the shareholders of Raw on the deal. Grant Dawe LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.