Finance

Sony Pictures Television acquiring independent TV production firm Bad Wolf


Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is close to acquiring majority ownership of one of the UK’s leading TV production firms Bad Wolf.

Last month it was revealed that Bad Wolf, whose portfolio of productions from its Wolf Studios Wales facilities in Cardiff Bay includes His Dark Materials and a Discovery of Witches, had been put up for sale with a £50m price tag.

The deal with SPT will provide an exit for Bad Wolf’s existing external stakeholders Access Entertainment, a division of Access Industries owned by industrialist Len Blavatnik, which currently has a 24.9% stake and media giants Sky and HBO who each have 5% stakes.

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The deal is also expected to see current majority shareholders and founders of Bad Wolf, in former BBC executives Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter, maintaining minority interests.

The sales process is being overseen by GCA Advisors.

According to publication Broadcast a deal with SPT is close to being finalised worth £60m.

It is understood that a rival bidder had tabled a higher offer, but was rejected as SPT has provided greater commitment to maintaining and expanding the Wolf Studios Wales operation, which recently took on additional studio space nearby in the Splott area of Cardiff.

US-based SPT, a television production and distribution venture, is ultimately owned by Japanese conglomerate Sony, which has had a manufacturing presence in Bridgend since the 1970s where today its products include camera equipment for the broadcast industry.

Bad Wolf is currently in post production for the next series of a Discovery for Witches, with current filming including that for the next series of His Dark Materials and Industry.

As well as bringing leading productions to Wales, the directors of Bad Wolf, set up in 2015, have played a key role in the promotion of Wales’ wider creative industries sector globally. They have also ensured a much wider economic impact for the Welsh economy from Bad Wolf productions by championing a strong indigenous supply chain.

Its latest published accounts, for the financial year to the end of December, 2019, show the business generating revenues of £90m and pre-tax profits of £2.8m. The business employs around 500. In 2019 it was named as the fastest-growing indigenous firm in Wales in the Wales Fast Growth 50 initiative.

Bad Wolf and SPT declined to comment.

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