LDC takes stake in Plimsoll Productions

August, 19 |

Lloyds Bank private equity arm invests in Bristol indie in a deal valuing the company at £80m.

UK private equity firm LDC has acquired a minority stake in Plimsoll Productions, in a deal that values the Bristol factual indie at £80m.

Plimsoll will continue to be led by founder and chief executive Grant Mansfield, and the new investment will be used to drive the company’s growth strategy both domestically and internationally.

Through LDC’s support, Mansfield and his team will seek to boost its natural history and documentary divisions and expand further into the US and new global markets.

In last year’s Broadcast Indie Survey, The Hostile Planet producer secured overall turnover of £37.3m, up 78.5% from 2017’s £20.9m.

A substantial proportion of its turnover came from international activity, with £28.3m – more than three-quarters of its turnover – coming from outside the UK.

The natural history specialist has had a flurry of orders from overseas firms in 2019, including a commission from Jay Hunt’s inaugural Apple slate for Tiny World, as exclusively revealed by Broadcast.

Plimsoll has grown rapidly since its launch in 2013, with 400 staff across offices in Bristol, Cardiff and Los Angeles.

It is behind more than 50 series, including Emmy-nominated National Geographic series Hostile Planet with Bear Grylls and Yellowstone Live, plus 14 live shows and seven films.

It recently secured an order from National Geographic for Alaska Live and documentaries for Smithsonian Channel’s Brazilian launch.

The deal was led for LDC, which is the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, 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. Lyndon and Hughes will join Plimsoll’s board, along with LDC’s head of new business Andy Grove.

LDC was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance, Osborne Clarke, Oliver & Ohlbaum and Deloitte, while Plimsoll was advised by ACF Investment Bank, Westbrook Advisers and PwC.

“In little more than five years, we have built Plimsoll Productions into one of the leading international production companies,” said Mansfield.

“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.

“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.”

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.”

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