People/Biz

Tinopolis restructuring “blindsided” prodco owners: report

The Tinopolis Group is undergoing a significant — and controversial — restructuring and recapitalization as it reels from the financial impacts of the pandemic. Tinopolis chairman Ron Jones said in a ...
April 15, 2021

The Tinopolis Group is undergoing a significant — and controversial — restructuring and recapitalization as it reels from the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Tinopolis chairman Ron Jones said in a statement that the UK-headquartered company, which has operations in the U.S., is entering “an exciting new phase” while producers and distributors under its banner were reportedly blindsided by the decision, the Financial Times reported Monday (April 12).

The company’s portfolio comprises 13 content production companies across all genres, including A. Smith & Co. (Hell’s Kitchen), Firecracker (Emma Willis: Delivering Babies), Mentorn (Paradise Hotel), Passion Distribution, Pioneer Productions (Ocean Autopsy) and Magical Elves (Nailed It!, pictured).

The group’s banks and institutional funders have committed to invest funds to enable the company to restore its trading to pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, the management team has provided new investment. A majority holding in the continuing business will be sold to a new company owned by these management investors.

As part of the wider restructuring, a non-trading group company in which Loan Notes (effectively, IOUs) owned by current and former management are held, will be closed and enter liquidation.

Tinopolis stated “no staff, customers, suppliers or creditors to the various group trading companies are affected by this process.”

However, according to a report from the UK’s Financial Times, loan holders stand to collect “substantially less from the sale of their business to Tinopolis.” Among those companies named by the outlet are Passion Distribution, A. Smith & Co., Pioneer Productions and Magical Elves. The report states that principals of those companies, who held millions of pounds worth of loan notes in the transactions that led to the selling of their businesses to the superindie, now stand to lose those substantial sums.

Realscreen has reached out to various production companies within the Tinopolis roster, including those named above, for comment.

Adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic noted by Tinopolis include its ability to complete productions amid physical restrictions, the closure and postponement of sporting events during the first lockdown, and the “extreme” virus outbreak and “severe” local regulations in California.

Jones said in a statement: “Tinopolis now enters an exciting new phase and is well placed to resume its growth path as the global media industry adjust to life after COVID. The damage caused by COVID has been significant and a complete recovery will not be easy. However, our underlying business has shown considerable resilience in the last 12 months and is now on a sound footing. Equally, our relationships with key commercial partners have remained strong during a difficult time and we value their continued support.

“Tinopolis has an encouraging pipeline of projects and new contracts. The management team is committed, personally invested and incentivized to continue building a world-class production and distribution business in the UK and U.S., so we look forward to working with our talented staff to return the group to its former success and beyond.”

(With files from Barry Walsh)

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