Gravity Media Group (GMG), the owner of worldwide broadcast services specialists Gearhouse Broadcast and Hyperactive Broadcast, has secured a substantial investment to fund future global growth by selling a minority stake in its business to investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners (TowerBrook).
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.