Plimsoll to bolster natural history, docs with private equity investment

Hostile Planet

Hostile Planet producer Plimsoll Productions has struck a deal that will see private equity firm LDC taking a minority stake in the company.

Plimsoll was founded in 2013 and has been behind more than 60 series and live shows, including Hostile Planet with Bear Grylls and Yellowstone Live for National Geographic. It has also produced Rescue Dog to Super Dog and Life at the Extreme for UK broadcasters Channel 4 and ITV respectively, and is behind an as-yet untitled natural history series for Apple’s forthcoming service.

Details of the arrangement have not been revealed but the deal values Plimsoll at around £80m ($100m). The prodco will continue to be led by CEO and founder Grant Mansfield.

Grant Mansfield

Plimsoll, which is based in the UK city of Bristol but has offices in Wales and LA, said it would use the investment to expand its natural history and documentary divisions, as well as drive further expansion into the US and other international markets.

The prodco is on track to generate sales in excess of £35m in the 12 months to August, with the deal coming three years after Plimsoll took a stake in Magnify Media, which distributes its shows globally.

LDC is part of UK-based banking giant Lloyds Banking Group and has previously invested in prodcos including Twofour Group. It sold its stake in the Posh Pawn producer in 2015 to ITV.

Mansfield said: “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.”

The transaction was led by Lyndon, 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.