Sony Pictures acquires Sex Education producer, Eleven
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Sony Pictures Television (SPT) today announced the acquisition of London-based production company Eleven, the producers of the worldwide smash hit Netflix series ‘Sex Education’, with immediate effect.
The acquisition brings to an end the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund’s involvement in Eleven which was founded in 2006 by Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson. Eleven has grown to become one of the UK’s fastest growing drama production companies, picking up BAFTA and Broadcast Award nominations for the critically acclaimed ‘Glue’ (2015) on E4, and ‘The Enfield Haunting’ (2016) starring Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson and Matthew Macfayden on Sky Living.
In 2014 the Channel 4 Growth Fund’s minority stake investment made Eleven the first drama production company to benefit from the fund.
Since it was first released in January 2019, ‘Sex Education’, from writer and creator Laurie Nunn, has become a global success on Netflix. A Top 10 show in all key markets for the SVOD platform, the series generated more than 40m views in the first month alone. It returned for an acclaimed second season in January 2020, and has been recommissioned for a third season, which will soon enter production.
Eleven has secured further commissions including ‘White Stork’ for Netflix, a political thriller from writer Christopher Dunlop starring Tom Hiddleston as a charismatic young political candidate who is on the fast-track to becoming Prime Minister; and ‘Red Rose’ for the BBC from Michael and Paul Clarkson, a young adult horror series following a group of 16 year-olds who encounter a supernatural presence on social media.
Channel 4 launched the Indie Growth Fund in 2014 to support the UK creative sector by taking minority stakes in SMEs to help them to grow their business to the next stage. As a not-for-profit public service broadcaster, all profits from the Fund’s ventures are invested back into helping to fund the delivery of Channel 4’s public service broadcasting purposes.
The majority stake investment in Eleven is in keeping with SPT’s wider strategy of diversifying the group’s production portfolio and growing IP in recent years. This has included expanding further into children’s programming by acquiring Silvergate Media in December 2019 and broadening the group’s capability in sports and live entertainment production with the acquisition of Whisper Films in February 2020.
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive, Channel 4 said: “Eleven was the first drama producer to join our Indie Growth Fund family in 2014 and it’s been a real pleasure to see how the company has evolved into a premium global drama player. I wish Jamie and Joel and everyone at Eleven every success for the future as they embark on the next stage of their journey with Sony.”
Wayne Garvie, President, International Production, Sony Pictures Television, said: “For some time, we have watched on as Jamie and Joel built one of the most exciting drama companies in the UK. Their ability to spot and develop new writing and acting talent and their eye for a unique and compelling idea make them an irresistible pairing. We are thrilled they see Sony as their ideal partner to grow Eleven and I know that our existing production companies in the UK and beyond are thrilled that they are going to join our merry little family. In the midst of the Covid crisis, this acquisition also demonstrates Sony’s underlying faith in the future success of British production and desire to keep on entertaining the world.”
Eleven’s Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson said: “Joining Wayne, Richard and the rest of Sony’s extraordinary team in the US and UK is a hugely exciting step for us. We are deeply proud of the world-class slate of scripted shows we have in development; and no one in the world is better positioned than Sony to help us convert it,” say of the deal.
“Together, we have absolute conviction that we can build on the series we have in production (Sex Education, Red Rose, White Stork), and realise our ambition to become a pre-eminent global drama producer.”
Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners advised the shareholders of Eleven Film on the transaction.
Source Channel 4
July 6, 2020 4:58am ET by Channel 4