Dutch TV producer 2waytraffic said today it has agreed to buy the worldwide rights to the hit TV quiz show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in a £106 million pounds ($207 million) deal. 2waytraffic said it was buying Complete Communications Corp Ltd (CCCL), which includes Celador International, as well as Knight Whitehill Productions Ltd and The River Studio Ltd, which own the business, assets and rights to the show.
“This is a transformational deal that will see us acquire “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?”, one of the most popular and sustainable prime time game shows in history,” said 2waytraffic Chairman Chris Pye. “Millionaire” was launched in September 1998 on Britain’s ITV before going on to become a global phenomenon. It has captivated viewers in more than 100 countries with its simple but suspense-filled format of increasingly difficult multiple-choice trivia questions. The programme has also spawned board games, computer games, books, mobile phone quizzes and other licensing deals, transforming it into a lucrative franchise.
2waytraffic was started in 2004 by former executives of Endemol, the producers reality TV show “Big Brother.” 2waytraffic said it planned to make “Millionaire” more interactive with viewers and would look to sell the show in new countries.
Paul Smith, the man who came up with the idea for “Millionaire” and one of the founders of CCCL, said the deal had not been just a question of cash.”When we were seeking a buyer for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” and Celador International, our considerations were not purely financial. Millionaire is very much our baby, so it was a matter of who would best look after it,” he added.
The deal also gives 2waytraffic the rights to Celador’s other shows including “You Are What You Eat”, where a health expert is usually seen inspecting a subject’s faeces to try to improve the person’s poor diet and “Mr & Mrs”, which tests couples’ intimate knowledge of each other. Investment company InvestinMedia said in a separate statement that it would receive an initial 36 million pounds for its interest in CCCL.
2waytraffic, which specialises in interactive programming for TV, mobile phones and digital platforms, said the deal would be paid for mostly by a £60 million loan and a 38 million placing of its shares.