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Private Equity

Sponsors, Strategics Crew Up on Hollywood Sets

Published: June 9th, 2022
Film and TV production groups are racing to keep pace with the streaming boom. Middle-market M&A and private equity deals have followed. Inc.’s (AMZN) purchase of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc.’s (APO) investment in “Dune” producer Legendary Entertainment have headlined recent coverage of M&A in Tinseltown.

Behind the scenes, the crews that make the Hollywood magic happen are headlining deals of their own, as the services community remains fragmented amid a boom in production spending.

“Think of a production budget as a series of departments,” said Derick Stace-Naughton, COO of Quixote Studios in Los Angeles, which owns sound stages and provides an array of production services. “Aside from cameras and lighting … production departments are serviced by a very large, but fragmented, ecosystem of primarily lower middle market or smaller service providers.”

Quixote and peers such as Hackman Capital Partners LLC’s MBS Group, Herc Holdings Inc.’s (HRI) Cinelease Inc. and Sunset Studios, backed by Blackstone Inc. (BX) and Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. (HPP), have bought up pieces of the production chain.

Though it may not be as glamorous as acquiring MGM, an investment in the niche has its own virtues.

“It’s been a phenomenal way to participate in the content production growth tailwinds without having exposure to the ups and downs of a specific streamer or a piece of content,” Stace-Naughton said.

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