Mar 3, 2022 - Economy & Business

Sony buys 'American Idol' producer Industrial Media in $350 million deal

A photo of Industrial Media founder Eli Holzman by himself wearing glasses

Eli Holzman. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for A&E Networks

Sony Pictures Television is acquiring a majority stake in unscripted TV producer Industrial Media in a deal that values the company at $350 million.

Why it matters: This will give Sony a big presence in the reality programming space.

  • SPT is primarily known for scripted shows and popular games shows like "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune."
  • Industrial Media produces around 100 reality TV shows, including "So You Think You Can Dance?", "Indian Matchmaking" and TLC's "90 Day Fiance" franchise. It co-produces "American Idol" with Fremantle.

Details: Industrial Media founder Eli Holzman will join SPT as president of nonfiction entertainment.

  • Holzman’s longtime producing partner, Industrial Media President Aaron Saidman, will join SPT as co-president of nonfiction entertainment.
  • SPT will form a new game show division led by Suzanne Prete.
  • After the deal closes, Holly Jacobs, SPT’s executive vice president of alternative and syndicated programming, will leave the studio. She will segue into a producing deal with Sony.

Catch up quick: Industrial Media was formed in 2018 when Holzman's The Intellectual Property Corp merged with Core Media.

  • Industrial Media includes the following production companies: 19 Entertainment, B17 Entertainment, House of NonFiction, Sharp Entertainment, The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), This Machine Filmworks, This Radicle Act, and Trilogy Films.
  • Holzman had also remained CEO of IPC.
  • Investors in Industrial Media included Crestview Partners, BlackRock and United Talent Agency.

We set out to grow Industrial Media into a preeminent television production entity," Crestview Partners’ Co-President Brian Cassidy, BlackRock’s director Jeff Gordon, and UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in a joint statement. "Sony is the perfect home for Industrial Media and we look forward to seeing it continue to flourish."

What's next: Along with Lionsgate, SPT's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment has long been seen as an acquisition target. This could make them more attractive to a potential buyer.

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