France’s Federation Entertainment has struck a deal to acquire a majority stake in UK-based Britannia and Bulletproof producer, Vertigo Films.
The deal, which comes a year after Federation raised $60m to fund further acquisitions, will see the European operator acquiring Vertigo as it nears its 20th anniversary, with the London-based prodco’s current slate including Amazon dramedy Mammals and forthcoming 1980s gangster show A Town Called Malice for Sky Max.
A feature film for Sky Cinema is also in the works, while the producer’s credits include the BBC’s 2010 format StreetDance 3D, as well as dramas such as The Sweeney and film such as Monsters and Bronson. Financial details were not revealed.
Vertigo was founded in 2002 by executive producers Allan Niblo and James Richardson, with Jane Moore named CEO in 2014. It produced Britannia and Bulletproof for Sky, although the latter was cancelled last year following allegations of misconduct around star Noel Clarke.
Richardson, Niblo and Moore saint in a joint statement described the sale to Around The World In 80 Days producer Federation as “an opportunity to expand and drive our ambitious slate at full speed.”
They added: “Producing film and TV for the global market is at the heart of all that we do, and as we searched for an international sales partner, we wanted to find a company that shared our independent, rebellious, and ambitious spirit – and finding that in Pascal Breton, Lionel Uzan and our friends at Federation is gold dust.”
Pascal Breton, president of Federation, added: “Vertigo is one of the first and only British production companies to have brilliantly succeeded in reinventing itself to adapt to the highly competitive theatrical market, and then to drama series with strong international potential. Along with Lionel Uzan, we have been talking to James and Allan for many years, which is why we are very happy to finally welcome them into the large family of Federation producers.
“Vertigo’s expertise in pre-financing and international distribution, paired with that of Federation in London, Los Angeles and Paris, should enable both Federation and Vertigo to jointly offer even more ambitious series and films to the British and global market and international platforms, and these productions will be better funded by attracting top creators, producers and independent projects.”
The deal is a fillip to the growth strategy of Federation, which was founded by Breton and Uzan in 2015. It had 65 shows in the works for both French operators and international broadcasters and streamers last year, including the local remake of hit Israeli drama BeTipul, which is being produced as In Treatment for Arte.
It has also formed a joint venture drama outfit with Mr Robot outfit Anonymous Content, launched a UK-based scripted arm and founded Animal Federation, an LA-based management and production company with a focus on representing diverse, multi-hyphenate and multilingual talent.
The company also found success with Israeli drama Blackspace, which was picked up by Netflix, and has been expanding its doc slate and factual efforts, joining forces with Fred Fougea’s Boreales to launch a new premium factual label – Boreales Federation – and acquiring March Of The Penguins firm Bonne Pioche earlier this year.
There are now 20 subsidiaries or associate production companies under its umbrella, based in Paris, LA, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Cologne, London, Brussel and Tel Aviv.
Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners advised Vertigo on the sale.