Hilary Strong & Bob Benton’s ILP strikes ‘eight-figure’ literary estates deal

Brideshead Revisited

Hilary Strong and Bob Benton’s recently launched IP management firm International Literary Properties (ILP) has struck an eight-figure deal to acquire a dozen literary estates, including Brideshead Revisited writer Evelyn Waugh.

The agreement was struck with former rights holders Peters, Fraser + Dunlop and will see ILP also take control of the estates of Maigret scribe Georges Simenon, Eric Ambler, Margery Allingham, Edmund Crispin and Dennis Wheatley.

Also included in the deal are works from Robert Bolt, Richard Hull, George Bellairs, Nicolas Freeling, John Creasey and Michael Innes. Peters, Fraser + Dunlop will remain literary agents for the 12 estates.

Hilary Strong

New York and London-based ILP was launched late last year by Strong, the former CEO of the Agatha Christie Ltd, and Benton, whose Anthology Group emerged from what was known as Bob & Co in 2018.

ILP focuses on acquiring rights in literary estates from those who have inherited them or from living authors seeking more financial certainty.

The deal is the first major acquisition for ILP, which said it will “pro-­actively manage the estates it buys or buys into, working with agents to support their exploitation across all media platforms.”

Former Hat Trick exec Strong, who struck a 20-hour deal with the BBC for Agatha Christie dramas while overseeing the author’s estate, heads up the company from the UK with Benton. They share a remit across Europe and will focus on properties with TV, theatre and film potential alongside CFO Andrew Minkow and Polly Benton, who heads up business development.

The New York-­headquartered business is led by literary agent Scott Hoffman, who is also group CEO, and executive chairman Ted Green, former CEO of RLJ Entertainment.

Strong said the deal was “a very important step for us in building the business” and added that she was now looking “to nurture these 12 wonderful estates and to find new and exciting ways of telling the great stories that lie within them.”

Hoffman said: “When we launched ILP, it was our vision to build a portfolio of some of the world’s most important and iconic literary works with an eye toward preserving their creators’ legacies and ensuring they would bring enjoyment to readers for decades to come. This acquisition is a major step toward that goal.”

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