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Plimsoll secures Lloyds investment

The private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has taken a minority stake in UK-based indie Plimsoll Productions in a deal that values the company at £80m (US$96m).

Grant Mansfield

Bristol-based Plimsoll will continue to be led by CEO and founder Grant Mansfield, who set up the firm in 2013 after holding positions as CEO of Zodiak USA and director of factual, entertainment and comedy at RDF Media.

The exact size of LBG’s minority stake was not disclosed. Following the investment, Plimsoll will invest in its natural history and documentary divisions as well as drive further expansion into the US and new markets.

Plimsoll, which has a total workforce of more than 400 across its offices in Bristol, Cardiff and LA, has been behind more than 50 series, 14 live shows and seven films. It specialises in natural history, wildlife, documentary, live and factual entertainment shows.

Its titles include the Emmy-nominated Hostile Planet with Bear Grylls (National Geographic), Yellowstone Live (National Geographic), Rescue Dog to Super Dog (Channel 4), Britain’s Parking Hell (Channel 5), Life at the Extreme (ITV) and Sit Baby Sit (Channel 4).

Its content is distributed by Magnify Media, in which Plimsoll took a minority stake in 2016 and is on track to generate sales in excess of £35m in the financial year ending August 2019.

Plimsoll is also currently producing multiple, as-yet-unannounced series for leading VoD platforms, the company added.

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. Lyndon and Hughes will join Plimsoll’s board, along with LDC’s head of new business, Andy Grove.

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.”

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.”

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.

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