Helion advises leading drama producer Eleventh Hour Films on majority sale to Sony Pictures Television

Helion is delighted to announce it has advised leading drama producer Eleventh Hour Films on its majority sale to Sony Pictures Television

Led by Jill Green, Paula Cuddy and Eve Gutierrez, Eleventh Hour Films is one of the UK’s leading drama producers, renowned for making high-quality programmes with gripping narratives and compelling characters. Since its inception, Eleventh Hour has produced numerous hit shows including three seasons of teen-spy series Alex Rider for Amazon Freevee and Sony Pictures Television (“SPT”), crime series Rebus which launched on the BBC in May, The Killing Kind for Paramount+ UK and Magpie Murders for the BBC and PBS Masterpiece. SPT originally invested for a minority stake in 2018.

Over the years, Eleventh Hour has benefitted from a long-standing relationship with author and screen writer, Anthony Horowitz. The adaptation of his best-selling Alex Rider book franchise has been sold in over 100 territories and kicked off the relationship between Eleventh Hour and SPT.

Anthony has also adapted Magpie Murders from his novel of the same name starring Lesley Manville, which achieved 6.4m viewers when it launched in the UK on BBC and BBC iPlayer. A second instalment Moonflower Murders is currently in post-production. Anthony has also written six-part series original thriller, Nine Bodies in a Mexican Morgue, for MGM+ and BBC which is currently filming in the Canary Islands.

Most recently Eleventh Hour has launched the critically acclaimed crime drama Rebus on BBC One, a re-imagination of the detective novels by Ian Rankin depicting the iconic Edinburgh detective, penned by screenwriter Gregory Burke and starring Richard Rankin.

By selling a majority stake in the company, Eleventh Hour is able to benefit from an elevated level of international support from Sony Pictures Television across production, distribution and financing. The transaction also facilitates Eve and Paula stepping up to Co-CEOs, as the company expands its output with a range of writers and international commissioning partners. The new structure allows Jill to focus her attention on executive producing their highly successful projects with Anthony Horowitz as well as continuing in her role as Chairperson.  The company also benefits from the recent appointment of Sarah Woolway, as Chief Commercial Officer, who brings a wealth of commercial, legal and production financing experience in the drama sector from her recent roles at Gaumont UK and BBC Studios, to ensure the company is well placed to navigate more complex global production financing and distribution structures.

Jill Green, Eve Gutierrez and Paula Cuddy, Eleventh Hour Films

“Tom and Alex at Helion were sharp-minded, engaged, pro-active, knowledgeable and, above all, a friendly duo to work with. Their attention to detail was first rate and they were incredibly responsive, completing an attractive transaction in an efficient and expedient manner. I would definitely recommend them to other producers looking for advisors to navigate them through the complex process. Whilst we’ve known Sony for a long time, we couldn’t be more excited about the next phase of the journey with them.”

Tom Manwaring, Helion Partners

We’re delighted to have advised Jill, Eve and Paula on this key transaction. By stepping up to a majority owned label, they will benefit from greater access to the range of benefits Sony has to offer from deficit funding to access to the US streaming platforms. The transaction also facilitates accelerating their range and breadth of high-quality output. I look forward to seeing them capitalise on the opportunity.”

Helion has closed 9 leading TV production transactions in the past two years including The Forge to Banijay and Lingo Pictures to ITV Studios.

Helion Partners is a specialist M&A firm providing partner-led advice to leading companies and investors within the media, entertainment and marketing services sectors.

If you’re considering selling, buying, setting up a new company or coming to the end of your earn out, and want to discuss the options, please email Tom Manwaring at [email protected].