LONDON — Welsh businessman David Sullivan, who owns English soccer club West Ham, has invested in fast-growing U.K. distributor Signature Entertainment.
Signature, which launched in 2011, claims to have released more titles than any other film distributor this year across DVD, digital and theatrical platforms.
Signature owner and managing director, Marc Goldberg, and Sullivan said that the injection of funds will help to grow the business and allow Signature to go to the next level, allowing for more tentpole acquisitions and international expansion.
Goldberg said: “David’s investment will help to bolster our already impressive slate for 2016 and beyond, and will allow us to reach our ambitious goals in the months and years ahead. David’s decision to invest in Signature only highlights our burgeoning reputation and will help to cement our place as the fastest growing, and most commercial U.K. film distributor.”
“I have known David for a number of years and more recently we have worked closely together on our forthcoming releases ‘The Rise of the Krays/The Fall of the Krays.’ I believe with David’s business acumen and financial firepower it gives the team and I the opportunity to take Signature into a new era whilst still keeping the core entrepreneurial spirit flowing.”
Sullivan said: “I admire what Marc and the Signature team have achieved in a very short space of time. From what I have seen, there is clearly a gap in the U.K. market for a company like Signature to thrive and grow. I am looking forward to giving Signature the resource and support to expand the business. I will have a hands off role and allow the great team to continue running the company in the impressive manner that it already does.”
Sullivan’s business assets are worth £850 million ($1.35 billion), according to the Sunday Times. His early business interests included porn magazines and movies. By the mid-1970s, he controlled half of the adult magazine market in the U.K., according to the Sunday Times.
He does not apologize for the part he played in the adult business. “I do not feel embarrassed,” he told the Evening Standard in 2010. “I’ve made a lot of people happy. If I was an arms manufacturer or a cigarette manufacturer, and my products killed millions of my clients, I’d have a bit of doubt about the whole thing. I was a freedom fighter. I believe in the right of adults to make their own decisions.”
The bulk of his fortune since those times has been made in the property business. From 1986 to 2007, he owned the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers.