Fremantle acquires majority stake in ‘Normal People’ firm Element Pictures

Normal People

European production and distribution giant Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in UK film and drama production company Element Pictures.

Working across production, distribution, and exhibition, Element Pictures is the firm behind the BBC adaptations of Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Conversations With Friends, and is managed by co-founders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, with offices in Dublin, London, and Belfast.

The deal was spearheaded by Fremantle’s Group COO, and Continental Europe CEO, Andrea Scrosati and Lorenzo De Maio, of De Maio Entertainment.

Element Pictures upcoming television productions include Conversations With Friends, based on Sally Rooney’s debut novel. The 12-part series was developed and produced by Element, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Leanne Welham, co-written by Alice Birch and will premiere on BBC and Hulu on 15 May, before rolling out globally soon after.

This follows on from Element’s award-winning adaptation of Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People, released in 2020. The company’s film credits, meanwhile, include The Little Stranger, The Favourite, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and The Lobster.

“Element Pictures is 21 years old this year and it is incredibly exciting for us and our wonderful colleagues to be entering a new and ambitious phase of growth in partnership with our friends at Fremantle at a truly exhilarating time for our industry,” commented Ed Guiney & Andrew Lowe, Founders of Element Pictures.

“We are huge fans of the people at Fremantle, their vision for the future and the extraordinary talent they are working with across film and television.”

Scrosati added: “Fremantle is proud to be investing and partnering with the very best creative minds in the business. Ed, Andrew, and the amazing Element Pictures team certainly fall into this category. They have built an astonishing company, which has become one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative creative production companies.”

Last August, Fremantle’s parent RTL Group announced plans to increase Fremantle’s full-year revenue target to €3bn by 2025.

Fremantle’s investment in Element Pictures follows a number of acquisitions made by the company over the past 12 months, include UK indie Dancing Ledge (The Responder), scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), international development and production company Fabel (Bosch), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (Parental GuidanceFinding Magic Mike) and UK unscripted production company Label1 (Hospital, Five Guys a Week, Soldier) as well as 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group).

In addition to spearheading the deal, De Maio Entertainment, a Fremantle-backed company, will be a strategic advisor and partner across Element Pictures’ slate.

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