ITV is to acquire a majority interest of 79.5% in natural history indie Plimsoll Productions.
The deal is for a cash consideration of approximately £103.5 million, valuing Plimsoll at an Enterprise Value of £131 million.
ITV will acquire 79.5% of Plimsoll’s share capital from private equity firm LDC, founder Grant Mansfield and other Plimsoll shareholders for a cash consideration of £103.5m. This includes £85.5m payable to the existing shareholders and the repayment of Plimsoll’s financial net indebtedness at completion, expected to be approximately £17.6 million.
Founded in Bristol in 2013, Plimsoll’s credits include 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.
Plimsoll is led by founder Grant Mansfield and the team includes chief creative officer Dr Martha Holmes (formerly of the BBC’s Natural History unit – Blue Planet, Hostile Planet, Tiny World); creative director Tom Hugh-Jones (Tiny World, Planet Earth II); Karen Plumb as Head of Factual Entertainment; and Richard Klein, former Head of ITV Factual, and Head of Documentaries at the BBC. Prior to launching Plimsoll Productions, Mansfield has previously been head of production company Zodiak in the USA, Managing Director of RDF and the Commissioner of Factual for ITV.
Following the transaction Grant Mansfield and his team will continue to manage the business. They will work alongside ITV Studios Managing Director Julian Bellamy, Director of Unscripted, UK, Angela Jain and their team.
The outstanding 20.5% of share capital will be held by Grant 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% 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 31 December 2027, is capped at £79.5m and payable from 2028 onwards.
Grant Mansfield, CEO Plimsoll Productions 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.”
Julian Bellamy, Managing Director ITV Studios added: “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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