Sony Pictures Television has invested in The Whisper Group.
The Whisper Group, co-founded by CEO Sunil Patel, broadcaster Jake Humphrey and former F1 driver David Coulthard, includes Chapter 3 Graphics and East Media alongside live sports and non-scripted indie Whisper.
The new deal brings to an end the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund’s investment in the business. The fund took a minority stake in Whisper back in 2015.
Whisper produces shows including coverage of NFL, the Paralympics, Formula One, SailGP, Women’s Super League, International Cricket and W Series. It has recently retained Formula One for Channel 4 and has a number of additional upcoming productions for 2020, which are yet to be announced.
This investment is part of SPT’s strategy of diversifying the group’s production portfolio, which has included the launching of pop culture focused creative label Human Media in 2018, and further broadening into children’s programming with the acquisition of Silvergate Media in December 2019.
“This is big news for Whisper” said Sunil Patel, Whisper Co-founder and CEO. “Our absolute belief is that Entertainment is Everything and Sony Pictures Television is one of the top players in the entertainment world.
“Sport is at our heart and we’ll remain committed to immersive sports broadcasting, however, we have other ambitions which this move can help us to realise. We are keen to grow internationally and to develop formats that can help build an exciting IP catalogue.
“We’re grateful for the support of Wayne Garvie and his team at SPT. We look forward to working together to expand Whisper’s reach and exploring opportunities to develop new ideas around their existing assets.”
Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television, said, “Whisper have become one of the most talked about production companies in the UK. Very quickly, they have established themselves as an innovative leader in sports content. We are thrilled to be joining Sunil, David, Jake and the team in helping to take Whisper to the next level.”
Co-founder David Coulthard added, “The company’s progression from 2010, when we were established, to now has been remarkable and this significant agreement marks a new stage for Whisper and its continuing growth. The weight of experience and expertise at Sony Pictures Television can directly help us progress into new areas while continuing with our award-winning sports coverage, which is what attracted SPT to us in the first place.”
The move brings an end to Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund involvement with Whisper. In 2015, the Fund took a minority stake in the burgeoning company, which proved to be the springboard that the company needed at that time.
Sunil continued: “We would never be where we are today without the trust and belief that was placed in us by Channel 4. They have been a fantastic partner and we thank them for everything they have done with and for us over the last four and a half years.”
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4 said: “Since joining our Indie Growth Fund family in 2015, Whisper have taken their business from strength to strength – successfully transitioning into TV production and building an incredibly talented team. We’ve really enjoyed working with Sunil, David and Jake and wish them every success for the future as they continue to the next stage of their development with Sony.”
Imagine Capital acted on behalf of The Whisper Group during the transaction.
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