STV buys Greenbird Media in ‘transformative’ deal

Glasgow media firm STV Group plc said it has acquired, through its subsidiary STV Studios Limited, 100% of the issued share capital of unscripted television production network Greenbird Media Limited for £24 million.

Greenbird network companies are behind such hit shows such as LEGO Masters, The Hit List, Animal Casualty 24/7, The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, Late Night Lycett and Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

STV said the “transformative” acquisition will make STV Studios one of the largest production groups in the UK, and is a major step towards its stated objective of becoming the UK’s leading “nations & regions” producer, and accelerates the group’s overall diversification strategy.

STV said: “We now expect to comfortably exceed our diversification target that at least 50% of STV’s operating profit should come from outside linear broadcasting by the end of FY23, transforming STV into a more balanced, resilient media company offering both linear and digital reach, and the creation and ownership of valuable IP in the growing global content market.”

The Glasgow company added: “Greenbird’s portfolio — which includes majority stakes in leading unscripted companies Crackit Productions and Tuesday’s Child and minority positions in 13 other producers — not only brings immediate scale and earnings enhancement but also the potential for future growth through consolidation of minorities …

As well as helping its network of investee production companies to accelerate their growth plans, Greenbird is also a service provider, offering a bespoke back-office solution to enable creatives to focus on pipeline development and programme production …

Founded by respected television executives Jamie Munro and Stuart Mullin in 2012, Greenbird has built the largest independently-owned network of high quality producers in the UK, with an archive of 2,000+ hours of content, and will this year produce over 350 hours of new programming across 25 returning series …

Greenbird directly owns majority stakes in two of the UK’s leading unscripted production companies, Crackit Productions (75%) and Tuesday’s Child (51%), founded and run by award-winning creative leaders Elaine Hackett (ex Endemol UK board member overseeing Big Brother) and Karen Smith (ex MD of Shine TV and co-creator of Strictly Come Dancing) respectively.

“Tuesday’s Child in turn owns a majority stake in Interstellar (51%). Greenbird also holds minority positions in a further 12 production companies, including Rumpus Media (40%), Glasgow-based Hello Halo (30%) and Flicker Productions (40%), offering significant scope for future consolidated growth …”

STV CEO Simon Pitts said: “Growing STV Studios into the UK’s #1 nations and regions production company is one of our core strategic objectives.

“This transformative acquisition represents a major step towards that goal, adding significant scale and creative firepower to the group and immediately accelerating STV’s overall diversification in terms of both revenue and profit.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Greenbird and to welcome their incredibly talented network of creative leaders to the STV family as we jointly aim to grow our production base in the UK and internationally.”

STV Studios MD David Mortimer said: “Over the last 4 years we have transformed STV Studios’ creative and commercial performance, so now feels like the right time to take our next big step towards becoming one of the UK’s most successful production groups.

“I’ve known and worked with many of the team at Greenbird and their associated companies previously and can’t wait to get on with the job of integrating these great production companies into the STV Studios family. Jamie and Stuart have built a brilliant business and they’ll bring unrivalled commercial expertise as part of our senior management team.

“Over the next few years, we will be making some huge television shows for broadcasters and streamers both here in the UK and around the world, so this feels like an exciting new era for STV Studios.”

Greenbird founders Jamie Munro and Stuart Mullin said: “This is an exciting new chapter in Greenbird’s history. We are hugely proud of the Greenbird incubator model we have built. It has given creatives space to flourish and deliver some of the most innovative, entertaining and loved programmes in the UK.

“Their creative power is unrivalled and has been recognised by viewers, critics, awards panels and through the volume of international sales that their shows have generated.

“We’re delighted to be working with Simon and David at STV. We look forward to a future together helping a wider network of creatives realise their ambitions.”