LDC backs Plimsoll Productions in £80million deal

Plimsoll Productions (“Plimsoll”) has partnered with leading mid-market private equity firm LDC in a deal valuing the company around £80 million.  LDC has invested for a minority equity stake in Plimsoll which will continue to be led by CEO and Founder Grant Mansfield.

Headquartered in Bristol, the international centre of the natural history television industry, Plimsoll is one of the largest independent television production companies in the UK.  Its BAFTA, EMMY and Academy Award-winning team specialises in wildlife, documentary, live and factual entertainment shows and it is a global leader in natural history programmes.

Since the business was founded in 2013, Plimsoll has grown rapidly, with a total workforce of more than 400 across its offices in Bristol, Cardiff and Los Angeles. It is behind more than 50 series, 14 live shows and seven films including 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).  Plimsoll is also currently producing multiple unannounced series for leading streaming video on demand platforms.

The company distributes to more than 50 countries worldwide through Magnify Media, a company it took a significant stake in three years ago. Today its content is broadcast across more than 70 international territories.  In the financial year ending August 2019, the business is on track to generate sales in excess of £35 million.

LDC is backing Plimsoll’s ambitious management team, led by CEO and Founder Grant Mansfield, Chief Operating Officer Christine Owen and a team of creative talent that includes 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. With LDC’s support and investment, Mansfield, the 2018 Daily Telegraph SME Business Leader of the Year, and his team will continue to drive the business forward, invest in its natural history and documentary divisions as well as drive further expansion into the US and new global markets.

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.

Grant Mansfield, founder of Plimsoll Productions, said: “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. 

“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.”

Andy Lyndon, Head of LDC in the South West and Wales, 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.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.