UPDATED. NBC Universal has confirmed it intends to buy Sparrowhawk Media whose interests include 18 regional versions of The Hallmark Channel.
NBC is reportedly paying $350 million (€256m) for the company acquired by a private equity consortium comprising Providence Equity Partners and 3i for $242 million in 2005.
The business that has extended to cover 152 territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has been extended to include Movies 24, women’s channel Diva TV, launching October 1, and the soon-to-be-launched children’s channel Kids Co, a joint venture between Sparrowhawk, DIC Entertainment and Nelvana Enterprises. A +1 hour version of Hallmark Channel will launch in the UK on January 1 next year.
“This is a perfect strategic investment for NBC Universal and illustrates our commitment to growing our company internationally. It is another step, among several we will take in the next year, to transform our entire portfolio, with an eye toward high-growth areas,” said NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker. “The Hallmark Channels’ geographic breadth is of particular importance to us, as it will bolster our position in existing markets and boost our growth in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.”
NBC has recently begun to expand its international interests that already include the Sci-Fi, 13th Street, Studio Universal and Universal Channel brands.