EXCLUSIVE: Salvage Hunters Producer Curve Media is preparing for further investment after appointing specialist consultancy GothamStreet to explore its strategic options, we learned. It is understood that the British indie expects to double its revenue this year and wants to capitalize on its position in the factual market.
Dane Phillips of London-based adviser GothamStreet is overseeing the process and Deadline understands he has spoken to several potential partners as Curve is considering a range of options. These could result in a strategic partnership, private equity investment, bank debt raising or business sale, although the latter option is not considered preferred.
The process is in its early stages, but whatever path is agreed, Curve wants to ensure it can capitalize on its position in the booming UK market, and that continued growth will be at the forefront of any deal.
Curve’s revenue for 2021 was £12.4m ($15.6m), according to Companies House filings and Deadline understands revenue is expected to double to around £25m in 2022. Curve’s management team currently owns a majority stake in the company, with BBC Studios holding a 25% shareholding.
Fact-driven Curve is best known around the world for the long-running Discovery Salvage Hunters acclaimed BBC documentary franchise and series Our dementia choirwhich included Course of action star Vicky McClure. He recently received a major order for The biggest auction through the Channel 4 Global Format Fund and produces a range of returning shows which also includes Smithsonian’s How did they build this? and channel 5 Ambulance: Code Red. The indie has made shows for all UK terrestrial broadcasters and several international streamers, having launched in 2014 after founders Rob Carey and Camilla Lewis left senior roles at Cineflix Media’s UK arm.
Sources have stressed that Curve chiefs Lewis and Carey will remain in charge of the operation regardless of the outcome of the process. They have big plans to expand indie, which is known for its high-volume factual series, especially as they move into shorter-lived documentary series and high-profile singles often favored by streamers – with the head of Premium Sunshine Jackson having several projects close to the green light.
Carey, a former Mentorn Media executive, is known for overseeing and creating shows such as American Pickers, Air accident investigation and Property Brotherswhile former BBC specialist factual executive producer and Fremantle’s head of factual reporting, Lewis, oversaw series such as Great British Rail Journeys, Country getaway and grand designs and is behind shows such as Claimed and Shame, Help my house is a zoo and Trauma doctors.
They teamed up to create Curve after leaving Cineflix, where Carey was global creative director and Lewis was UK general manager. At Cineflix, they won an Emmy for Entertainment Format pet school.
The development comes against the backdrop of a growing and heavily consolidated UK factual market. Plimsoll Productions is said to be selling to ITV Studios after previously securing private equity backing from LDC in 2019, but few other major deals have taken place in recent years. Many notable companies are already part of larger groups such as Banijay, All3Media, ITV Studios and Fremantle, or are happy to stay independent.
GothamStreet’s Recent Factual Market Deals Include Guidance Fighting Dealers producer Wag Entertainment when it was sold to French Asacha Media Group in February last year and British factual distributor BossaNova when it was sold to German Night Train Media a few months later.
Curve and Gotham Street declined to comment.