Lead Forensics

Founder Grant Mansfield chose private equity for the investment option for his business.

CASE STUDY

Plimsoll Productions: Delivering on international ambition

Minority investment helped Plimsoll to become the biggest independent producer of natural history programmes in the world.

Plimsoll Productions is the biggest independent producer of natural history programmes in the world.

Deal type
  • Development capital
Deal value

£80m

Exit type
  • Trade sale
Exit date

June 2022

Exit value

£131m

Headquartered in Bristol, with offices in Cardiff and LA, Plimsoll Productions is an independent television production company. Its BAFTA, EMMY and Academy Award-winning team specialises in wildlife, documentary and factual entertainment shows.

Supporting new growth opportunities

In 2019, we backed Founder Grant Mansfield and his management team with a minority investment. The transaction valued the company at around £80m.

Over the next three years, Plimsoll invested in its natural history and documentary programming, launched a factual drama division and pursued further growth, both organically and through acquisition. With LDC’s support, Plimsoll grew sales from £35m (FY19) to £50m, and recorded an EBITDA of £10m (FY21).

It acquired specialist distribution and rights management company, Magnify Media, which now distributes to 75 countries worldwide through its network, and appointed US entertainment industry veteran Mark Itkin, who joined Plimsoll’s board to advise on strategy.

orange quote mark
I had a lot of preconceptions about private equity before this process started. I imagined ruthless moneymen coming out of the City, without much empathy or understanding of how to run a creative business. Instead, from day one, LDC have added value and have been very respectful of our culture and the way I run my business.”
Grant Mansfield, CEO and Founder
Plimsoll Productions

Plimsoll attracted its highest audiences to date during our three-year partnership – with standout productions including Apple TV+ documentary series Tiny World and Channel 4’s Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker and used innovative strategies to extend the global reach of its content.

In 2021, the company also embarked on its first co-production series with ITV – the upcoming Stephen Fry-narrated documentary A Year on Planet Earth – which involved forming commercial partnerships with international broadcasters, including Tencent in China and Fox Nation in the USA.

It now produces more than 70 series for broadcasters including Netflix, Disney, Apple and Natural Geographic and is the biggest independent producer of natural history programmes in the world.

A partnership with ITV

In June 2022, LDC exited its investment in Plimsoll Productions to ITV plc in a transaction that values the independent television production company at £131m.

Plimsoll remains an independent brand and the existing management team will continue to run the business and play a key role in programme development to maintain Plimsoll’s creative pipeline.

orange quote mark
We have really valued our partnership with LDC. The team has supported and empowered us to achieve our ambitions on our own terms, with creativity, inclusivity and the pursuit of excellence at the core of everything we do.”
Grant Mansfield, CEO and Founder
Plimsoll Productions

As Featured in South West Business Insider read about Grant Mansfield’s experience of his first year in a private equity partnership.

> Read our Q&A with Grant Mansfield, CEO & Founder of Plimsoll Productions

Awards

Deal of the Year

South West Insider Dealmakers 2020

Company of the Year

South West Insider Dealmakers 2020

Profit Track 100 (Ranked 3rd)

The Sunday Times, 2020