Fremantle Acquires U.K. Documentary Powerhouse 72 Films in Major Deal
Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in David Glover and Mark Raphael’s factual powerhouse 72 Films, the producers behind “9/11: One Day in America,” “The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty” and “All or Nothing: Arsenal.”
The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions for the Bertelsmann and RTL Group-owned Fremantle, which has been expanding aggressively in scripted in the last year. The acquisition of 72 Films is a major coup in the non-scripted arena for the company considering the production company’s excellent track record of documentary hits.
Under the deal, Fremantle says it will provide 72 Films with its “global infrastructure, distribution, and specialist support” across the 27 territories in which it operates. The deal “reaffirms Fremantle’s commitment and ambition to grow its global documentaries proposition working with the very best filmmaking talent,” said the company, which has been pushing into premium documentary in recent years.
The deal was spearheaded by Fremantle U.K. CEO Simon Andreae, who recently joined Cara Delevingne on stage in Cannes at Mipcom for the model-actor’s uproarious and well-received panel to promote “Planet Sex.” (Andreae was an executive producer on the show.)
72 Films’ recent TV productions include BBC documentary series “The Elon Musk Show,” which provides an intimate story uncovering how Musk became the world’s richest man (which was distributed globally by Fremantle), and the two-part Netflix documentary “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story.” This follows on from 72 Films’ Emmy-award winning historical documentary series, “9/11: One Day in America,” which was nominated in six categories.
Glover and Raphael, co-founders of 72 Films, said: “At this stage of 72’s development, there are great advantages and opportunities of joining forces with Fremantle. Their extensive international infrastructure and expertise will provide 72 Films with the platform to have our work seen across the world. We know and like their excellent team. And they offer us not only fantastic support but complete creative freedom so we can continue to work in the same way.”
Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO for Fremantle, added: “Fremantle is proud to invest and work with the very best creative minds in the business. David and Mark, and their team at 72 Films are exceptional talents, all of whom take enormous pride in their storytelling and filmmaking, and we are thrilled to have them part of our family.”
Simon Andreae, CEO for Fremantle U.K., said: “Mark, David and the 72 family have developed an unrivalled reputation for telling the world’s most fascinating stories with real freshness and flair. We are delighted to welcome them into the Fremantle family and look forward to supporting them in whatever ways we can as they continue to grow and flourish.”
Fremantle’s investment in 72 Films follows acquisitions over the past 12 months that include U.K. production company 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 Guidance”) and U.K. unscripted production company Label1 (“Hospital”), 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group), and most recently, Irish production company Element Pictures (“Normal People”).
Last August, RTL Group announced its aim to increase Fremantle’s full-year revenue target to €3 billion by 2025. In a recent interview with Variety at Mipcom, Fremantle boss Mullin said the company is “on track” to hit its eye-watering targets.
“Last year was our largest revenue year and this year we will exceed even that,” stated Mullin, who added that Latin America and India are the company’s “priority areas” going forward
72 Films was advised by ACF Investment Bank with commercial support from Matisse.
(Pictured: David Glover, Mark Raphael, Jennifer Mullin, Simon Andreae)
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