NBC Universal has made its first move into UK independent production by snapping up Carnival, the company behind Harley Street and Hotel Babylon, for up to £30m.
The acquisition is part of a new strategy by the US network and Hollywood studio business to move into production outside America.
Under the agreement, NBC will take 100% control of Carnival and merge it into its international TV production division, headed by president Angela Bromstad.
The deal covers Carnival's back catalogue, which includes ITV dramas including Poirot, Jeeves and Wooster and Rosemary and Thyme.
Carnival is currently owned by Australian company Southern Star and the company's chief executive officer, Gareth Neame, who joined Carnival from the BBC in 2004.
NBC Universal is one of the biggest US media and entertainment companies, operating channels including the NBC broadcast network and cable services such as USA, Bravo, Sci-Fi and Oxygen.