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Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment raises $125m to fund international growth

Simon Cowell’s production company Syco Entertainment has raised US$125m to create an acquisition fund intended to expand its global reach.

Simon Cowell

The company said it will use the investment to expand through “a mixture of strategically aligned acquisitions and organic growth.”

The unique deal was achieved by the securitisation of the Got Talent Franchise, according to ACF Investment Bank, which advised on the deal.

According to ACF, the two-year process involved building an investor group that resulted in US-based global investment management company Nuveen coming in to securitise the whole proposition.

The financial model behind the deal is more commonly applied to the music industry’s royalty income streams, according to ACF.

“This is the first deal of its kind as it includes securitisation of Syco’s ownership of the Got Talent intellectual property, which comprises production margins and fees, digital income, franchise and original content sales, and sponsorship income,” said the company.

Thomas Dey

Syco, which was founded by Cowell in 2005, is a holding company that includes his ownership share in the Got Talent television format through its subsidiary, Maidmetal Limited.

The Got Talent format includes a host of shows and spin-offs including America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent. In total, various iterations of the franchise have been commissioned in 72 territories worldwide.

In 2014, the Got Talent format was named by the Guinness World Records as the world’s most successful reality format, and the format airs in 194 countries around the world to an estimated audience of over one billion viewers.

“Our brief was to create a structure to enable [Syco Entertainment] to maximise the full potential of its existing passive royalty income stream,” said Thomas Dey, ACF’s founder and CEO. “We are certain that this ground-breaking structure will be one that we will use for many media formats in the future.”

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