Sony Pictures Television has confirmed what we revealed back in April — that it is investing in Eleven, the British production outfit behind Netflix smash hit Sex Education.
Sony has taken a majority stake in Eleven after a competitive process in which a host of potential suitors showed an interest in the producer, including All3Media. The size of the stake and financial terms were not disclosed.
In completing the takeover, Sony is buying out Channel 4’s 20% stake in Eleven. The British broadcaster first invested in the company in 2014 as part of its Indie Growth Fund initiative.
Eleven was founded by creative directors Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson in 2006, and teen drama Sex Education has become its biggest calling card after launching last year.
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Other Eleven commissions include Red Rose, a BBC Three horror created by twins Michael and Paul Clarkson, which has been picked up by Netflix in the U.S. It is also making Tom Hiddleston political thriller White Stork for the streamer.
The producer’s previous series include E4 drama Glue, and Sky’s The Enfield Haunting, while Eleven also dabbled in factual programming in its earlier years, with Channel 4’s The Secret Life Of The Pub among its more memorable shows.
Sony Pictures Television has been on something of a spending spree in recent months under Wayne Garvie, its London-based president of international production.
It took a minority stake in sports production company The Whisper Group in February, while the studio acquired Octonauts producer Silvergate Media for just under $200 million last December. Other assets include The Crown and Quiz producer Left Bank Pictures.
Garvie said: “For some time, we have watched on as Jamie and Joel built one of the most exciting drama companies in the UK. Their ability to spot and develop new writing and acting talent and their eye for a unique and compelling idea make them an irresistible pairing… In the midst of the Covid crisis, this acquisition also demonstrates Sony’s underlying faith in the future success of British production.”
Campbell and Wilson added: “We are deeply proud of the world-class slate of scripted shows we have in development; and no one in the world is better positioned than Sony to help us convert it.”
Eleven was advised by Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners.