Matchbox Pictures, the prolific producer of Nowhere Boys, Devil’s Playground, The Slap, the movie Cut Snake, Real Housewives of Melbourne, Formal Wars and upcoming miniseries Deadline Gallipoli, is now fully owned by a US studio.

NBCUniversal International Television Production, which bought a 60% stake in 2011, today announced a further investment which gives it 100% ownership.

Tony Ayres, Penny Chapman, Michael McMahon, Helen Bowden and Helen Panckhurst, who founded the firm in 2008, sold their shares to NBCUniversal.

“They pursued us, primarily due to the success of the partnership and they are keen to invest and further grow the company internationally, so owning the company fully makes sense to do that,” Matchbox managing director Chris Oliver-Taylor tells IF. "There is more incentive for NBCU to drive the business further."

The company will continue to operate as a distinct entity led by Oliver-Taylor and creative heads Chapman and Ayres (scripted ) and Kylie Washington (unscripted).  McMahon becomes executive chairman.

“Matchbox is one of the most exciting and dynamic production companies we have encountered,” said Michael Edelstein, President, NBCUniversal International Television Production.

“Penny Chapman, Tony Ayres and Kylie Washington have a fantastic creative track record and are incredibly well respected. We are excited by what the future holds and are keen to help their programs reach audiences around the world.”

NBCUniversal will continue to provide a global infrastructure and distribution network for Matchbox’s content outside of Australia and New Zealand.

Oliver-Taylor said: “We are thrilled to cement our successful relationship with NBCUniversal. The fact that NBCU have decided to fully-own the company is testament to both the wonderfully talented staff here at Matchbox and NBCU’s confidence in Australia’s creative industry, of which we are immensely proud to be a part.”

Matchbox and Sam Worthington's FullClip are producing Deadline Gallipoli, which will start filming in South Australia in mid-2014.

Due to air on Foxtel in 2015, the miniseries will follow the team of journalists who were embedded at Gallipoli during WW1 and how they triggered the decision to end the Gallipoli campaign.

Worthington will serve as an executive producer with Chapman, John Schwarz of FullClip and Penny Win, Foxtel’s Commissioning Editor of Drama, and  star as writer Phillip Schuler, with Michael Rymer as the director.

NBCUniversal’s portfolio of international production labels includes the UK’s Carnival Films, Monkey Kingdom, Lucky Giant and Chocolate Media as well as a joint venture with Working Title Television and Lark Productions in Canada.