World Productions, the independent producer responsible for dramas including This Life, Cardiac Arrest and Party Animals, has been bought by the billionaire owner of Ipswich Town football club.
The production company, which was set up in 1989 by former BBC drama producer Tony Garnett and film financier John Heyman, has been bought by Marcus Evans Group for an undisclosed sum. Garnett retired from producing in 2010 and along with Heyman has retired from the company they founded.
Marcus Evans Group, which acquired Ipswich Town football club in 2007, runs an entertainment and talent representation arm which it is looking to support with the acquisition.
MEG has its own fledgling production operation which it set up in 2010, called Marcus Evans Entertainment, which is close to having its first TV programme commission green-lit.
The entertainment division is also home to talent business Ken McReddie Associates, which represents actors including Luther and The Wire star Idris Elba and Emily Blunt.
MEG will merge Marcus Evans Entertainment with World Productions. Jake Lushington will become head of drama, Simon Heath creative director and Roderick Seligman will be managing director.
Roger Charteris, who handles clients including Elba and Blunt, will be chief executive as well as continunig his role at Ken McReddie Associates.
"It has been a part of the group's longterm strategy to look to enter TV and film production," said Charteris. "We have a very potent combination now working together."
World's other drama credits include Between the Lines, Ballykissangel, The Cops, No Angels and Buried.
More recently, in 2007 BBC2 commissioned World to makee political drama Party Animals which gave Matt Smith, who now plays Doctor Who, his first major role.
Other recent production include United, starring David Tennant and tells the story of the ill-fated 1958 Manchester United team that died in a plane crash, and a new BBC2 drama about police corruption called Line of Duty.
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