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Sony Pictures TV buys into Whisper

L-R: Whisper’s David Coulthard, Sunil Patel and Jake Humphrey

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has bought a stake in UK-based sports and unscripted production outfit Whisper, ending Channel 4’s involvement with the company.

Whisper was co-founded by Bafta-winning CEO Sunil Patel, broadcaster Jake Humphrey and former Formula One driver and current F1 commentator David Coulthard in 2010.

UK broadcaster C4 took a minority stake in the firm in 2016 through its Indie Growth Fund but is now exiting upon today’s news of SPT taking a minority share. Further financial details have not been disclosed.

The Whisper Group comprises live sports and non-scripted production company Whisper alongside Chapter 3 Graphics and East Media.

Its productions include coverage of the NFL, the Paralympics, F1, SailGP, the Women’s Super League, International Cricket and W Series. It has recently retained Formula One coverage for C4.

The investment is in keeping with SPT’s wider strategy of diversifying its production portfolio, which has included the launch 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 Patel. “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 that 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.”

Wayne Garvie, president of international production at SPT, said: “Whisper has 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.”

Imagine Capital acted on behalf of The Whisper Group during the transaction.

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