Mersey goes to All3Media

U.K. indie continues buying spree

LONDON — Acquisitions hungry U.K. indie All3Media has added one of Blighty’s longest surviving producers to its rapidly expanding portfolio of production entities.

The combo’s purchase of Mersey Television for in the region of £35 million ($63 million) will, claim All3Media, take its turnover to £205 million ($375 million) making it Britain’s biggest independent producer.

Mersey, formed in Liverpool in 1982 on the back of the arrival of Channel 4, may not be the force it once was, but it still produces kids’ skein “Grange Hill” for the BBC and youth soap, “Hollyoaks” for C4.

Its creator, maverick Phil Redmond, who unusually combined a keen business sensibility alongside creative passion, will remain involved via his role as executive producer of “Grange Hill” and a first look deal on new projects he creates, but it is not clear how Mersey will evolve without Redmond in charge.

The famously outspoken and taboo-busting Redmond helped modernize British TV drama by introducing subjects like drug abuse and domestic violence into mainstream fare, most notably via “Brookside”, the C4 soap that run for 20 years.

In a statement he said: “It has been public knowledge for some time that Alexis (his wife who was the company’s managing director) and I have been on a succession and exit route, having spent the past few years making sure that Mersey Television was well placed to continue after our departure.

“While it is always tempting to look back on what has been achieved, Alexis and I think it is important to look forward as we firmly believe that the company is now in safe hands to continue to grow and prosper.”

All3Media’s CEO Steve Morrison said: “Having worked in the North West for 20 years I have always had the greatest admiration for the way the Redmonds have built up Mersey Television into Britain’s largest regional drama producer with some of Britain’s best known programs.”

Mersey is All3Media’s 10th acquisition since it was created in 2003.

Its other companies include Lion TV, Company Pictures and New Zealand-based South Pacific Pictures.

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