Exclusive: Great Point closure points to ‘end of TV investment’ in UK

Brexit: The Uncivil War (Source: C4, Nick Wall)

Investor confidence in the TV & film sector is set to plummet in the wake of Great Point Media (GPM)’s administration, according to those who have been left nursing heavy losses and asking questions about the run-up to the company’s demise.

Administrator Grant Thornton took control of GPM on 26 March, a month after the death of Great Point founder Jim Reeve, since when the London-based firm – which financed shows such as the BBC’s Small Axe, ITV’s Manhunt and Channel 4’s Brexit: The Uncivil War – has been cutting staff and unwinding its investments.

Small Axe

GPM subsidiary, Great Point Investments (GPI), had become a key financier over the past decade to the creative industries, offering tax-efficient products through its use of the UK government’s Business Relief (BR) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) initiatives.

It had supported hundreds of shows and production companies since being founded in 2013, but TBI understands that many investors are now expecting to be left out of pocket.

Those who put money into GPI’s Select Television Production EIS 6 have told TBI they are expecting losses of around 50%, while its Great Point Estate Planning (GPEP) fund – which had invested more than £50m ($63m) in productions over the past two years alone – is also expecting to show a considerable deficit.

“I fear when this all comes out it will be the end of raising capital from retail investors for TV and film production finance in the UK,” one former employee told TBI, describing the fall-out as “a catastrophe” that would affect the industry for years to come.

Another investor described events at GPM as “a disaster” for the TV & film sector, adding that advisors “would be very reluctant to advise clients to invest in a sector with such a high-profile failure.”

Great Point’s investment decline

The seemingly rapid demise of GPM over recent months has caused raised eyebrows to many in the industry.

There had been exec changes over the past 14 months, including that of former MD of investment Laura Macara, who was replaced in February 2023 by Nick Sandler.

Several of GPM’s senior management also left the company in the months prior to its administration, meaning GPI had only one director – COO Kok-yee Yau – after the December exit of MD, Dan Perkins. Prior to Reeve’s death in February, aged 64, Yau is also understood to have signalled her intention to resign.

Yet the speed of developments at GPM since its founder’s death is understood to have come as a shock to almost all staff who had believed the company was on a firmer financial footing.

Around 12 of GPM’s roughly 30 staff were let go following the appointment of administrators in late March, while TBI understands that all remaining employees will exit at the end of June.

The BBC's White GoldFor GPI, which is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, all eyes are now on recouping as much as possible.

The division had been investing in the TV and film sector for a decade via various funds, financing both shows and movies as well as the construction and management of studios operations in the US and the UK.

Its EIS 6 fund was the latest in a string of products that allowed investors to secure 30% income tax relief, with monies then being invested in productions.

Returns were hit through the pandemic and the most recent fund, EIS 6, began to be wound up last year, with participants initially receiving 46p for every pound invested.

They were then told in November that an additional interim payment of 10p for every £1 invested would be paid in January, but that payment was delayed because of a lack of available monies.

Investors were also informed in January that the overall returns from the fund would be less than expected, with a second payment of around 38p in the pound (inclusive of the 10p interim payment) set to take the total to 84p in the pound – a cash loss of 16%.

However, following Reeve’s passing in February, GPM execs sought to wind up activities at GPI, which subsequently wrote to investors in late April confirming that “a small number of counterparties” had unpaid contracts and loans to invested companies that would further hit returns.

It continued that its “initial analysis” indicated that no interim distribution would be made, adding that “the expected final distribution will be significantly lower” than previously communicated.

Some investors in the EIS 6 fund have told TBI that they are now expecting to receive nothing more, despite being told as recently as January that a further 38p for each pound invested would be due. If no further payment is made, total losses will amount to 54p for every pound invested.

GPI had previously blamed the performance on the US writers and actors strikes, as well as the “significant cutbacks” of studios, which it said had affected the “cashflows of a number of counterparties” that GPI-invested firms had been working with.

Ventures decline raises Studio questions

TBI also understands that GPI is braced for losses at its EIS Ventures fund, which is believed to have invested in companies including Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The US-based group has seen its value fall almost 80% over the past 12 months and is now fighting for survival, with its share price currently at $0.34c, down from a high of $42 in June 2021.

Investors in Great Point Estate Planning, meanwhile, took stakes in Illium, an investment company that had provided around £50m in financing for TV shows and movies over the past two years alone.


It was funded through deals with financial advisors, who put client money into the scheme with a view to receiving tax-efficient returns after around two years.

Its support had previously helped finance shows ranging from White Gold and Kiri to Line Of Duty and Harlots. TBI understands that administrators are now looking to sell on the Illium loanbook with impairments, providing a further blow to advisors.

Questions have also been raised around the future of Wales-based production facility Seren Studios, which the Welsh government sold to Great Point Studios for £9.35m last year.

The studios division, which also owns production operations in New Jersey and Atlanta, had been thought by some to be part-owned by GPM although this is now unclear. It is also unclear if the assets fall within the administration process being undertaken by Grant Thornton, which has declined TBI’s request for comment.

While administrators continue to unpick operations at GPM, investors and former staff fear that the company’s travails and the winding down of its investment portfolio will provide a hammer blow to all third-party investment in the TV and film sector at a time when it is needed more than ever.

London-based Great Point had been founded by Reeve and Robert Halmi Jr in 2013, growing to become an established financing outfit for many independent TV and film producers, supporting projects from production through to delivery. Halmi Jr left the business in 2018, with Reeve taking on majority ownership.

GPM did not reply to TBI’s request for comment. Grant Thornton declined comment.

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