Gravity Media Group secures substantial investment to fund future growth
The deal follows an extensive global search by GMG and its advisors, Deloitte, to find a suitable partner to fund aggressive expansion of GMG’s global business, with a particular focus on the USA in the short term. Under the terms of the deal GMG founder and CEO John Newton and his existing management team will remain in position and retain majority control of the Group. They will be supported by two additional non-executive directors, Gordon Holmes of TowerBrook and Dave Checketts, the highly regarded former President and CEO of Madison Square Garden. Checketts has extensive experience operating US sports franchises along with award winning TV networks MSG Network, FOX Sports Network and CSTV.
Formed in 2000 following a management buyout by Newton and his leadership team, GMG has grown rapidly into a truly global business. It provides the technical equipment, facilities and services to capture the world’s most watched content - from iconic live sports events such as Euro 2016 and Formula 1 to hugely popular live entertainment programmes such as The X Factor and I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Through its six subsidiary businesses GMG employs around 220 people across its UK headquarters and offices in Australia, USA, France and UAE.
“The investment by TowerBrook Capital Partners will enable Gravity Media Group to grow and innovate to realise our ambition of becoming the global leader in supplying equipment, services and consultancy for the live broadcast sector,” said John Newton, founder and CEO of GMG. “It brings industry and operational experience, as well as capital, and has a strong track record for being a patient and added-value investor.”
He added: “As far as our customers and employees are concerned, nothing changes – other than we will be able to support more customers and events in more locations around the world. The management team remains the same, and we’ll still focus on staying true to our core values of quality, reliability, technical innovation and outstanding service.”
TowerBrook Capital Partners brings impressive pedigree in adding value to its investments. It does this by optimising the performance of a portfolio company through a combination of rigorous analysis and effective partnering with experienced, talented managers. With a fund value of $8billion, it currently owns stakes in the St Louis Blues NHL sports franchise and InfoPro, the leading business to business information services provider in France.
The search for an investment partner was managed by Deloitte’s lead advisory team in Sydney, Australia, but also drew on the professional services firm’s worldwide network in London and New York. It was led by Damien Tampling, technology and media partner at Deloitte.
Commenting on the announcement, Tampling said: "GMG has done incredibly well to grow to its current size and global footprint with absolutely no external capital. As one of the more diversified players in the global outside broadcast space, its tie up with TowerBrook will put it in a great place to disrupt the market as the broadcast industry goes through some exciting changes. There was serious engagement from several trade and private equity suitors. But the fit with TowerBrook most strongly aligned to the ambitions of the shareholders and management team to take the business to the next level."
Deloitte also carried out the vendor due diligence and significant advisory work in London and Sydney. The sale was overseen in London by GMG's principal legal advisers Dentons.
About TowerBrook Capital Partners
TowerBrook Capital Partners, L.P. is an investment management firm of US$8 billion under management as at June 30, 2016, and a track record of creating value for investors. The firm is based in Europe and the USA and focuses on making investments in European and North American companies through private equity and structured opportunities strategies, allowing it to access a range of opportunities throughout the cycle. TowerBrook private equity primarily pursues control-oriented investments in large and middle market companies, partnering with highly capable management teams and seeking situations characterised by complexity with a track record of creating value through growth, build-up and transformation strategies. TowerBrook’s structured opportunities strategy leverages its PE experience and expertise to invest in opportunities that fall outside the investment parameters of the PE strategy.
About Gravity Media Group
Gravity Media Group was formed in 2000 as a holding company, and owns, operates and acquires businesses serving the live broadcast sector globally.
Gearhouse Broadcast is a market leader in the field of broadcast services and specialises in broadcast equipment rental, equipment sales, project solutions and systems integration. Operating globally from its offices in the UK, US, Australia, France and UAE, the company offers huge experience and a proven track record in delivering major sporting and entertainment events.
Hyperactive Broadcast was founded over 30 years ago and is a leading service provider to the broadcast, television and feature film market, supplying people and equipment to support the non-linear editing and broadcast hire needs of its customers. In 2015, it worked on projects as varied as the Grand National and the French Open Tennis to Springwatch and Fifty Shades of Grey.