Fremantle has acquired a controlling interest in David Glover and Mark Raphael’s de facto 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 series of acquisitions for Bertelsmann and RTL Group-owned Fremantle, which has aggressively expanded its screenwriting business over the past year. The acquisition of 72 Films is a major non-script coup for the company given the production company’s excellent track record in documentaries.
As part of the agreement, Fremantle says it will provide 72 Films with its “global infrastructure, distribution and technical support” in the 27 territories in which it operates. The deal “reaffirms Fremantle’s commitment and ambition to grow its global documentary offering in collaboration with the best filmmakers,” said the company, which has been pushing for premium documentaries in recent years.
The deal was spearheaded by Fremantle UK CEO Simon Andreae, who recently joined Cara Delevingne on the stage at Mipcom in Cannes for the model-actor’s raucous and well-received panel promoting Planet Sex. (Andreae was executive producer of the series.)
Recent television productions from 72 Films include the BBC documentary series The Elon Musk Show, which tells an intimate story uncovering how Musk became the richest man on earth (which has been globally distributed by Fremantle) and the two-part Netflix documentary Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story follows 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 in 72’s development, there are great advantages and opportunities to join forces with Fremantle. Their extensive international infrastructure and expertise will provide 72 Films with the platform to see our work around the world. We know and like your excellent team. And not only do they give us fantastic support, they also give us total creative freedom to keep working like this.”
Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO of Fremantle added: “Fremantle prides itself on investing in and collaborating with the best creative minds in the industry. David and Mark and their team at 72 Films are exceptional talents who all take great pride in their storytelling and filmmaking and we are delighted to have them in our family.”
Simon Andreae, CEO of Fremantle UK said: “Mark, David and the 72 family have earned an unrivaled reputation for telling the world’s most compelling stories with genuine freshness and flair. We are delighted to welcome them to the Fremantle family and look forward to supporting them in any way we can as they continue to grow and thrive.”
Fremantle’s investment in 72 Films follows acquisitions over the past 12 months including UK production company Dancing Ledge (“The Responder”), Italian script production company Lux Vide (“Devils”, “Leonardo”), international development and production company Fabel ( “Bosch”), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (“Parental Guidance”) and British unscripted production company Label1 (“Hospital”), 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark by Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group) and most recently Irish production company Element Pictures (“Normal People”).
Last August, RTL Group announced its goal to raise Fremantle’s full-year revenue target to €3 billion by 2025 diversity Speaking at Mipcom, Fremantle CEO Mullin said the company is “on track” to meet its staggering goals.
“Last year was our best year in sales and this year we’re going to surpass even that,” said Mullin, adding that Latin America and India are the company’s future “priority areas.”
72 Films was advised by ACF Investment Bank with commercial support from Matisse.
(Pictured: David Glover, Mark Raphael, Jennifer Mullin, Simon Andreae)