U.K. TV Indie Giants Merge to Create Regional Powerhouse

"Splash" is a Twofour Broadcast production.

Plymouth-based Twofour is merging with former BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey and Huw Eurig Davies' year-old production venture Boom Pictures in Cardiff.

LONDON – Plymouth-based indie production giant Twofour is merging with former BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey and Huw Eurig Davies' year-old production venture Boom Pictures in Cardiff.

The merger will create what the duo claim will be a "major new nations and regions player" in indie media production.

The deal sees Twofour Group's global business -- comprising Twofour Broadcast, Twofour Rights and Twofour Digital -- joining Boom Pictures, with its senior executives taking key roles in the enlarged Boom Pictures group.

This merger fuels the growth of Boom Pictures in line with plans set out by co-founders Heggessey and Davies when they launched the group in July 2012.

Twofour greatly expands Boom's network programming, moving the company into key genres such as entertainment and features. The deal also brings in international distribution for output with Twofour Rights, and a growing production presence in the U.S. In addition, Twofour's thriving digital arm serves blue chip brand clients and a growing hub in Abu Dhabi.

The merger has been supported by U.K. private equity firm LDC, which invested in the creation and development of Boom Pictures in 2012.

The merging of the two businesses puts Boom Pictures group firmly among the top 10 U.K. indie production outfits.

The freshly merged entity will operate from Boom's Cardiff headquarters and Twofour's headquarters in Plymouth.

Heggessey, executive chair and co-founder of Boom Pictures, said: "We're on an exciting journey and it's the right time for us to join up with such an excellent creative and executive team who have already built a hugely successful company. Boom and Twofour fit together perfectly and have a similar positive culture, firmly rooted in the nations and regions."

Twofour Group founder and CEO Charles Wace said: "In looking at the future of Twofour's business, the attraction was the backing of LDC, one of the U.K.'s leading and most experienced private equity firms, combined with Lorraine's leadership and vision. This ambitious partnership is the ideal platform to help take Twofour to the next stage in its life."

Davies, deputy chair and co-founder of Boom Pictures added: "The strategic value of this deal, at this stage in our development, is that it fulfills several key business growth ambitions. It gives us real scale, a base from which to grow in the U.S. and brings distribution in-house so we can benefit from the rights that come from our creativity."

Twofour Broadcast has produced over 200 hours of original broadcast programming across all major U.K. broadcasters with shows such as ITV's hit Splash! and the forthcoming The Alpine Games (w/t) for Channel 4.

It also brings successful factual entertainment titles including Alex Polizzi's The Hotel Inspector and The Fixer as well as fixed-rig factual hit Educating Yorkshire.

The inclusion of Twofour Digital with its blue chip clients including DuPont/Ogilvy Entertainment and the award-winning Horizons series on BBC Global News, will build on Boom Pictures' digital and branded content expertise.

Boom group currently boasts award-winning work with major brands through the Boomerang label, which produces GT Academy for Nissan and Playstation and The Clare Balding Show for U.K. telecom giant TV venture BT Sport.

Twofour's postproduction banners in Plymouth will complement Boom Pictures' own offering through Cardiff-based Gorilla and The Joint in Soho, London, expanding the group's ability to keep its post-production in-house.

The deal also gives Boom Pictures a greater international footprint and global reach.

Twofour Rights, which launched in 2012, becomes the group's in-house distribution arm, Twofour Broadcast's Los Angeles office gives Boom Pictures a base in the U.S. from which to build on its relationships with American networks and cable channels.

Twofour Digital's Abu Dhabi office adds a presence in the growing Middle East market.

The Twofour labels will retain their names and branding, with the senior management continuing in their current roles or taking on Boom Pictures Group roles.

The management changes will include Wace stepping back from his role as CEO of Twofour Group "to pursue other interests," but he will remain involved through his new roles on the Boom Pictures board as nonexecutive chairman of Twofour and a nonexecutive director of Boom Pictures.

Melanie Leach will continue in her role as managing director of Twofour Broadcast, and will become an exec director of Boom Pictures with a seat on the board.

Leach said: "Twofour's slate has continued to strengthen under the current management team and we're excited to work alongside Lorraine and Huw as we build what we hope will become one of the U.K.'s most admired media groups."

Boom Pictures launched with a strategy "to support the organic growth of the companies within the group, to attract leading creative talent, to back startups, and to acquire companies that extend the group's portfolio and capabilities."

The first Boom deal was with Graham Linehan and producer Richard Boden for comedy label Delightful Industries, and this was followed in January 2013 by the backing of former ITV drama heads Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes' new company Mainstreet Pictures.

Boom Pictures companies also include Boom Pictures Cymru, which produces over 400 hours of Welsh language programming for S4C, Boomerang, Oxford Scientific Films and Indus Films.