Advanced Television

ITV acquires Plimsoll Productions

June 14, 2022

ITV has agreed to acquire a majority interest of 79.5 per cent in Plimsoll Productions, an independent producer of natural history and factual programming, for a cash consideration of approximately £103.5 million (€120.2m), valuing Plimsoll at an Enterprise Value of £131 million.

Founded in Bristol in 2013, the producer is behind series including Tiny World and Giant World for Apple+; Hostile Planet and Supernatural Planet for Disney; Night on Earth and Animal for Netflix and the upcoming landmark series, A Year on Planet Earth for ITV, Tencent in China, Fox Nation in the US and Ard Group in Germany.

Following the transaction chief and founder, Grant Mansfield, together with his senior management and creatives, will continue to manage the business and play a key role in programme development to maintain Plimsoll’s creative pipeline. They will work alongside ITV Studios Managing Director Julian Bellamy, Director of Unscripted, UK, Angela Jain and their team.

Plimsoll Productions is also expanding across the premium unscripted space with growing documentary and factual entertainment departments producing for major network/platforms including BBC, ABC, Channel 4, CNN, History and Hulu.

ITV will acquire 79.5 per cent of Plimsoll’s share capital from private equity firm LDC, Mansfield and other existing Plimsoll shareholders for a cash consideration of £103.5 million. This includes £85.5 million payable to the existing shareholders and the repayment of Plimsoll’s financial net indebtedness at completion, expected to be approximately £17.6 million. The outstanding 20.5 per cent of share capital will be held by Mansfield and other members of the management team and strategic investors of Plimsoll. There are Call and Put arrangements in place that will give ITV the option of acquiring the outstanding 20.5 per cent of share capital. The consideration payable by ITV for the remainder of Plimsoll’s share capital is dependent on Plimsoll’s profit growth performance in the period to December 31st 2027, is capped at £79.5 million and payable from 2028 onwards.

Mansfield said: “The significant opportunities in the international premium unscripted market make this the perfect time for Plimsoll to join ITV Studios. There is a quite special strategic and cultural fit that will enable us to achieve our, now shared, creative and commercial ambitions for Plimsoll. We’re excited to be part of ITV Studios’ expanding global force in content and delighted that, from today, this powerful new partnership is officially active.”

Carolyn McCall, CEO ITV, added: “Growing ITV Studios with an exciting pipeline of premium programmes is core to our strategy as we further diversify the business by genre, by geography, by customer and grow ahead of the market. Through Plimsoll Productions, as a Studio, we can continue to capitalise on the growing demand for natural history and factual programming and I am really pleased to welcome Grant and the team.”

Bellamy said: “Grant and the team at Plimsoll bring years of unrivalled experience in the creation and production of outstanding and award-winning natural history and factual programmes. I’m delighted to welcome them to ITV Studios – their addition to the group strengthens our position in supplying the best shows across all genres to buyers around the world.”

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