Fremantle Buys Majority Stake In Natural History Producer Wildstar Films

Fremantle has made its second acquisition in the UK in two weeks.

The X Factor and Got Talent firm has bought 51% of factual and natural history producer Wildstar Films.

Last week, it took a majority stake in The Elon Musk Show producer 72 Films.

Bristol-based Wildstar, led by co-founders Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz, is known for America the BeautifulEpic Adventures with Bertie Gregory and America’s National Parks for Disney+ and National Geographic. It also makes numerous features for Disneynature and has worked with Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures.

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Before setting up Wildstar, Linfield and Berlowitz produced major BBC natural history series such as Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

In a statement, they said: “Fremantle is a fantastic fit as a partner – we share a similar culture and the same ambition of working with the best talent on and off screen to make genre defining shows; we’re also really excited that their international teams will help us grow Wildstar and reach more viewers around the world.”

Simon Andreae, Chief Executive Officer, Fremantle UK, said: “Within four short years Mark, Vanessa and their team have built Wildstar from a brand new start up to one of the fastest growing, most dynamic, and most imaginative brands in Natural History.  They bring creative excellence, technical innovation, and true sense of joy to all that they touch.  We are thrilled to welcome them to the Fremantle family and to join them in the next exciting step on their journey.”

Mandy Chang, Head of Global Documentaries, Fremantle, added: “Wildstar Films is an extraordinary company with strong core values, who take huge pride in their work, which delights, and importantly, inspires millions of people to think differently about natural history and being better citizens to our planet. We all value independence, and creativity, and look forward to providing them with the right level of support at an exciting time at Fremantle, as we scale-up our global non-scripted capabilities.” 

Wildstar recently hired former BBC Natural History Unit Head of Development Doug Mackay-Hope as SVP Development and Production, and Nigel Buck as Executive Editor.

For Fremantle, the investment in Wildstar comes after deals for Dancing Ledge (The Responder), Italy’s Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), Bosch producer Fabel, Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance, Finding Magic Mike) and 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group), Irish production company Element Pictures (Normal People, The Favourite) and 72 Films (All or Nothing: Arsenal, 9/11: One Day in America).

Fremantle parent RTL Group today said Fremantle is “well on its way” to reaching an ambitious target to hit full-year revenues of €3BN ($3.1BN) by 2025, largely driven by its acquisition spree.

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