EXCLUSIVE: Plimsoll Productions, the production company behind series including Nat Geo’s Hostile Planet and Yellowstone Live, has secured multi-million-dollar investment from private equity firm LDC.
The investment firm has taken a minority stake in the natural history and wildlife producer, which was founded by former Zodiak USA chief Grant Mansfield. The deal values the company at around $100M.
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Headquartered in Bristol, UK, Plimsoll was founded in 2013 and has more than 400 employees across the UK and LA. It is behind more than 50 series, 14 live shows and seven films including Channel 4’s Rescue Dog to Super Dog and ITV’s Life at the Extreme. It is also making a raft of series for streaming services, including commissions from Apple’s forthcoming platform.
The company is on track to generate sales of around $42M for its financial year ending August 2019 including sales to a slew of international broadcasters via distributor Magnify Media, which it took a stake in three years ago. CEO Mansfield will continue to run the business alongside Chief Operating Officer Christine Owen, Head of Natural History Martha Holmes, Head of Documentaries Richard Klein, Creative Director Tom Hugh-Jones, Head of Live James Smith, Head of Factual Entertainment Karen Plumb and President of International Production and Development Andrew Jackson.
LDC, which is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has previously invested in TV production companies including This Time Next Year and The Jump producer Twofour Group.
The transaction was led by Andy Lyndon, Head of LDC in the South West and Wales, with support from Head of LDC in Cardiff Dewi Hughes, and Investment Executive James Garland. Andy Lyndon and Dewi Hughes will join the board, along with LDC’s Head of New Business Andy Grove.
“In little more than five years we have built Plimsoll Productions into one of the leading international production companies. Our focus on premium, multi-platform, multi-genre productions has enabled us to produce award winning shows for the biggest names in the business, and it’s our passion for delivering this type of content that drives us forward,” said Mansfield. “For us, this deal is about giving Plimsoll Productions extra support and expertise to build on our success. We will be adding to our creative firepower and aiming to create ever more entertaining and ambitious shows for our clients, and their audiences. LDC is the perfect partner to support our growth plan.”
LDC’s Lyndon added, “It’s widely acknowledged that demand for wildlife and natural history documentaries is higher than ever before. Plimsoll is the business meeting this demand and under Grant’s leadership, it has firmly established its international reputation as a leading producer of high quality, beautifully shot documentaries. This has helped to deliver consistent, year-on-year growth and with further investment in the firm’s intellectual property, the expansion of its documentary division and a strong pipeline of productions Plimsoll is well placed to deliver on its ambitions. We’re really looking forward to supporting the team on the next phase of their journey and helping the business to become the leading producer of premium non-scripted shows globally.”
LDC was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance, Osborne Clarke, Oliver & Ohlbaum and Deloitte. Plimsoll Productions was advised by ACF Investment Bank, Westbrook Advisers and PwC. Tosca Debt Capital provided the banking package and was advised by DLA Piper.