ITV Acquires Natural-History Producer Plimsoll


ITV has agreed to acquire a majority interest in Plimsoll Productions, an independent producer of natural-history and other factual content.

Plimsoll is behind such series as Tiny World and Giant World for Apple+; Hostile Planet and Supernatural Planet for Disney; Night on Earth and Animal for Netflix; and the upcoming A Year on Planet Earth for ITV in the U.K., Tencent in China, Fox Nation in the U.S. and ARD Group in Germany.

Per the deal, ITV has acquired 79.5 percent interest in Plimsoll for a cash consideration of approximately £103.5 million ($124 million), valuing Plimsoll at an enterprise value of £131 million ($158 million). A total of £85.5 million ($103 million) ) will be payable to the existing shareholders and the repayment of Plimsoll’s financial net indebtedness at completion, which is expected to be approximately £17.6 million ($21 million).

The outstanding 20.5 percent of share capital will be held by Grant Mansfield, CEO and founder of Plimsoll, and other members of the management team and strategic investors of Plimsoll. There are Call and Put arrangements in place that will give ITV the option of acquiring the outstanding share capital. The consideration payable by ITV for the remainder of Plimsoll’s share capital is dependent on Plimsoll’s profit growth performance in the period to December 31, 2027, and is capped at £79.5 million ($96 million) and payable from 2028 onward.

Following the transaction, Mansfield, together with his senior management and creatives, will continue to manage the business and play a key role in program development to maintain Plimsoll’s creative pipeline. They will work alongside ITV Studios Managing Director Julian Bellamy and Angela Jain, director of unscripted in the U.K., and their team.

The priority, at this stage, is to continue the momentum of ITV’s and Plimsoll’s distribution businesses while the teams get to know each other and assess how they best work together. Plimsoll Productions’ distribution arm Magnify Media will work alongside ITV Studios.

Plimsoll is currently expanding across the premium unscripted space with growing documentary and factual-entertainment departments.

Grant Mansfield, CEO Plimsoll Productions said: “The significant opportunities in the international premium unscripted market make this the perfect time for Plimsoll to join ITV Studios. There is a quite special strategic and cultural fit that will enable us to achieve our, now shared, creative and commercial ambitions for Plimsoll. We’re excited to be part of ITV Studios’ expanding global force in content and delighted that, from today, this powerful new partnership is officially active.”

Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, added: “Growing ITV Studios with an exciting pipeline of premium programs is core to our strategy as we further diversify the business by genre, by geography, by customer and grow ahead of the market. Through Plimsoll Productions, as a studio, we can continue to capitalize on the growing demand for natural-history and factual programming, and I am really pleased to welcome Grant and the team.”

Julian Bellamy, managing director ITV Studios, added: “Grant and the team at Plimsoll bring years of unrivaled experience in the creation and production of outstanding and award-winning natural-history and factual programs. I’m delighted to welcome them to ITV Studios—their addition to the group strengthens our position in supplying the best shows across all genres to buyers around the world.”