Barcroft Studios announces acquisition by Future plc

Category: News Article, News Release

(15th November 2019 – London) Award-winning UK factual TV and digital video production company Barcroft Studios today announces it has entered into an agreement that sees its 100% acquisition by global multi-platform media company Future plc (LSE: FUTR) for a total consideration of £23.5 million in a combination of cash and shares.

The deal will enable Barcroft Studios, which produces premium factual programming for streaming platforms, TV networks and social media companies, to accelerate the creation, production and distribution of their award-winning original series. Recent productions include Amazing Interiorsfor Netflix, ‘The Day the Dinosaurs Diedfor BBC Two and Most Incredible Homes for Facebook Watch.

CEO Sam Barcroft will continue to oversee day to day operations of the Barcroft Studios brand under Future plc’s ownership alongside Chief Operating Officer Caspar Norman and Chief Creative Officer Alex Morris.

Barcroft Studios has pioneered a unique digital-to-TV incubation approach. To date the company has established 15 original self-funded digital series, including Extreme Love, Born Different and Beastly’, which have attracted over 63 million followers across social video platforms including YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. Many of these brands have subsequently been adapted as TV shows for broadcast networks and VOD platforms with more to follow in 2020.

The acquisition will also see Barcroft Studios developing and producing original TV programming and video content for Future’s portfolio of 180+ media brands, creating heightened engagement with consumers and new revenue streams. Future’s wide media portfolio includes iconic brands such as TechRadar, PC Gamer, MusicRadar, Space.com, Android Central, Real Homes and Total Film.

Barcroft Studios was founded in 2003 as Barcroft Media by CEO Sam Barcroft. The company expanded from providing exclusive stories and photography for print media brands, to producing premium original factual video content for VOD platforms, TV networks and consumer brands. The company rebranded as Barcroft Studios in early 2019.

The sale process is expected to be completed by the end of November and comes three years after Channel 4 acquired a minority stake in Barcroft Media via its Indie Growth Fund and sees the broadcaster exit from the business.

 “We’re delighted to join one of Britain’s most successful media companies. Future's stable of media brands is rapidly evolving across digital, e-commerce and events. Combining this with our expertise in the creation and distribution of amazing TV and video is an exciting proposition, enabling us to supersize our offering to broadcast, VOD and social media partners. We also can’t wait to collaborate with Future’s world class editorial teams, launching some of publishing’s most iconic media IP into TV and digital video,” said Sam Barcroft, CEO of Barcroft Studios.

 “Barcroft Studios are innovative TV and digital video producers who understand how to build communities at scale around content. With this acquisition we see a fantastic opportunity to further innovate across our diverse media portfolio. The opportunity to bring Barcroft Studios’ own IP, huge audiences and their team’s production expertise alongside our fantastic editorial content and brands, leveraging them into TV and video is an exciting step forward,” said Zillah Byng-Thorne, Chief Executive of Future plc.

“Barcroft Studio’s success is testament to the role our Indie Growth Fund plays in the industry to help support and nurture creative talent as well as to deliver returns to Channel 4. We’ve loved working with Sam and the team on their growth journey as investor and creative partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them as part of Future.” said Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4.

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.

Barcroft Studios was advised in the sale process by teams led by Chris Graves at Deloitte LLP and Ken Wilkinson for Osborne Clarke LLP.

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For further information on Barcroft Studios please contact Justin Crosby, Boom! PR on 07966 228361/ 0208 324 2260 justin@boomdialogue.com  

For further information on Future plc please contact Kay Larsen, Instinctiv  Kay.Larsen@instinctif.com  D +44 207 457 2052 | M +44 7854 368227

About Barcroft Studios

Established by CEO Sam Barcroft in 2003, Barcroft Studios is an award-winning factual production company that specialises in producing amazing content, enjoyed and shared by millions of people worldwide. Its partners are global platforms, broadcasters and media outlets around the world.

The business is dedicated to creating world-class television and digital video content celebrating a diverse range of incredible true stories.

Barcroft Studios’ strategy of developing and incubating hit digital series brands and adapting them for linear broadcasters has seen the company produce programming for partners including Netflix, Facebook, WEtv, Channel 4 and Discovery.

Barcroft TV is one of the most popular factual channels on the internet. The company's hugely successful series brands such as ‘Hooked on the Look’, ‘Shake My Beauty’, ‘Born Different’ and ‘Extreme Love’ have built passionate communities of over 63 million followers across Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.

Barcroft Studios also works with brand partners to create and distribute authentic content to engage their audiences. The company has produced compelling visual stories for clients including Emirates, FC Barcelona, McDonalds, Samsung, Unilever, Skoda and Sony PlayStation. In 2016, Channel 4 invested in the business via its Indie Growth Fund.

About Future plc

Future is a global platform business for specialist media with diversified revenue streams.

The Media division is high-growth with three complementary revenue streams: eCommerce, events and digital advertising. It operates in a number of sectors including technology, games, music, home interest, hobbies and B2B and its brands include TechRadar, PC Gamer, Tom’s Guide, Homebuilding & Renovating Show, GamesRadar+, The Photography Show, Top Ten Reviews, Live Science, Guitar World, MusicRadar, Space.com and Tom’s Hardware.

The Magazine division focuses on publishing specialist content, with nearly 80 publications and over 568 bookazines published per year, totalling global circulation of 1.4 million. The Magazine portfolio spans technology, games and entertainment, music, creative and photography, hobbies, home interest and B2B. Its titles include Classic Rock, Guitar Player, FourFourTwo, Homebuilding & Renovating, Digital Camera, Guitarist, How It Works, Total Film, What Hi-Fi? and Music Week.

About Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund

Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund provides additional support to the UK independent creative sector by investing in UK-based SMEs, taking minority stakes to help them to grow their business to the next stage. It has made 16 investments since its launch in 2014 and following several successful exits, currently has a diverse investment portfolio including Eleven Film, Firecrest Films, Five Mile Films, Lightbox, Parable, Spelthorne Community Television, True Vision Yorkshire, Two Rivers Media, Voltage TV and Whisper Films. Led by Head of Fund, Caroline Murphy, the Fund’s future strategy is focused on prioritising investment in the Nations and Regions, BAME-led and digital businesses across the UK – and will be based in Channel 4’s new National HQ in Leeds from the new year