Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has taken a minority stake in British sports-focused production outfit The Whisper Group.
As a result of SPT’s backing, the involvement of Channel 4′s Indie Growth Fund as a minority stakeholder in Whisper will come to an end with immediate effect.
“Since joining our Indie Growth Fund family in 2015, Whisper have taken their business from strength to strength — successfully transitioning into TV production and building an incredibly talented team,” said Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, in a statement. “We’ve really enjoyed working with Sunil, David and Jake and wish them every success for the future as they continue to the next stage of their development with Sony.”
Sony Pictures Television’s investment further strengthens its strategy of diversifying the group’s production portfolio, which included the 2018 launch of pop culture focused creative label Human Media, and expanding into children’s programming with the acquisition of Silvergate Media in December 2019.
Imagine Capital acted on behalf of The Whisper Group during the transaction.
The Whisper Group, which is comprised of live sports and non-scripted production company Whisper, Chapter 3 Graphics and East Media, was co-founded in 2010 by BAFTA-winning CEO Sunil Patel, broadcaster Jake Humphrey and former F1 driver and current F1 commentator David Coulthard to produce a number of “high-level” unscripted sports entertainment programs.
“Whisper have become one of the most talked about production companies in the UK,” commented Wayne Garvie, president of international production at SPT. “Very quickly, they have established themselves as an innovative leader in sports content. We are thrilled to be joining Sunil, David, Jake and the team in helping to take Whisper to the next level.”
“Sport is at our heart and we’ll remain committed to immersive sports broadcasting, however, we have other ambitions which this move can help us to realize. We are keen to grow internationally and to develop formats that can help build an exciting IP catalog,” added Whisper co-founder and CEO Sunil Patel.
With offices in London, Wales and Maidenhead, the company currently provides coverage of the NFL, the Paralympics, Formula One, SailGP, Women’s Super League, International Cricket and W Series.
Most recently, Whisper retained rights to Formula One races for Channel 4 with a number of complimentary productions scheduled for 2020. Additional information on those projects will be unveiled at a later date.