News Releases

Baker Botts Advises Acorn Media on Acquisition of Majority Stake in Agatha Christie’s Literary Estate

Landmark acquisition includes more than 80 novels, 19 plays, and nearly 40 TV films


LONDON, March 8, 2012 -- Acorn Media Group, a leading independent media company, has acquired a 64 percent stake in UK company Agatha Christie Limited from Chorion.

Baker Botts’ London office advised Acorn Media Group on the acquisition following the arrival of Neil Foster and Tim Davison in November as part of the firm’s growth plans in London. Foster and Davison had previously advised Acorn on its acquisition of Foyle’s War at their previous firm, where Foster was head of private equity.

“Acorn was recently called the ‘chief curators of the best Brit TV’ by TIME Magazine and so is an ideal client as we seek to grow a leading practice in London serving creative and technology-based industries,” Foster said.

This milestone acquisition gives Acorn Media majority ownership of Christie’s extensive works including more than 80 novels and short story collections, 19 plays, a film library of nearly 40 TV films, and iconic characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, among many others. The Agatha Christie family retains its 36 percent holding and Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson, remains Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited.

Miguel Penella, CEO of Acorn Media said, “This development, along with our purchase of Foyle’s War in 2010 and last year’s launch of Acorn TV, the first British TV-focused streaming service, signal the new prominence of Acorn Media Group as the most forward looking distributor of British television in North America. We see this acquisition as a key step in the company’s continued evolution into content ownership and television production, and look forward to working with Mathew and James Pritchard and the Agatha Christie family for years to come.”

Mathew Pritchard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited, added, “My family and I are delighted to be forming a new partnership with Acorn Media, which I am sure will continue the successful history of the company, and produce much more Agatha Christie material for fans everywhere, particularly in the U.S. I remain grateful to my colleagues at Chorion for nearly 13 years of fruitful partnership.”

Acorn Media Group Chairman Peter Edwards added, “This is a momentous occasion for Acorn Media and a gratifying one for me personally. While we are keenly aware of the financial and strategic worth of this transaction for Acorn Media, we are also grateful to partner with the Agatha Christie family.”

Agatha Christie wrote the biggest selling mystery novel of all time, And Then There Were None, as well as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. With HarperCollins and other international publishing partners, Christie sells more than 3 million books per year worldwide. Her most famous characters include Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, as well as Tommy and Tuppence, Parker Pyne, and Ariadne Oliver. Chorion originally purchased its majority stake in Agatha Christie’s literary estate in June 1998.

The Acorn Media news release concerning the transaction is available here.

Background on the London office of Baker Botts is available here.

About Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts is an international law firm with over 725 lawyers and a network of 13 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients’ industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Throughout our 172-year history, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. In London, Baker Botts is undergoing substantial expansion in order to service its global and also local client-base in technology, media, and telecoms