ITV is to snap up Talpa, the Dutch production company behind The Voice, in a deal that could cost up to €1.1bn.
The deal appears to represent a windfall for Big Brother creator John de Mol, who founded Talpa in 2004 and who will stay on to play a key role in the business after the transaction.
ITV is paying a initial €500m with further payments dependent on profit performance over an eight-year period.
The broadcaster has been reshaping its business to minimise exposure to volatility in advertising markets by boosting spending on original content, buying up production companies to help produce programmes it can sell around the globe.
ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said: “The acquisition of Talpa builds on the success of our international content business and is absolutely in line with our desire to create and own formats that travel.
“John de Mol and his team have an incredible track record of doing that consistently over many years and I’m delighted to welcome them to the ITV family.
“This is a great opportunity for ITV to accelerate its progress in building a global content business of scale.”
Mr de Mol said: “Of all the potential partners for Talpa, there’s no doubt ITV is the best fit. For Talpa this represents a fantastic opportunity for strong further growth. It also enables me personally to concentrate and focus even more on creating new, groundbreaking content.”
Talpa has created 75 shows over the last six years, with 16 new formats broadcast last year.
Singing talent show The Voice has been broadcast in 180 countries since first appearing in the Netherlands in 2010.
Other worldwide hits include game show I Love My Country, which has been sold to 26 countries, and Dating In The Dark, shown in 24 countries.
Talpa generated revenue of €233m from production, format fees and new revenue sources last year, delivering €61m in underlying earnings.
ITV said Mr de Mol and his team “will continue to play a key role in format creation and development to maintain Talpa’s strong creative pipeline”.
Shares in the broadcaster rose 1%. Last week ITV announced a 23% rise in adjusted annual pre-tax profits for 2014 to £712 million despite falling viewing figures.