Soho facility M2 is in negotiations to buy a majority share holding in post-production group Big Finish, write Sam Espensen and Will Srauss.
If a deal is signed, a reputed£500,000 will be paid for an 87.5% stake in the combined Big Finish businesses, which include Covent Garden based broadcast facility Pepper and commercials and corporate post house Peach. Both companies would then be controlled wholly by M2. The acquisition is thought to be backed financially by former Metro Broadcast owner David Pacey and ex-Deli owner John Tadros, now a member of the board of directors at M2.
"Producers don't want to use small post houses anymore," M2 general manager Keith Williams told Broadcast. "Combined we are able to offer talent in all areas of post-production, from documentaries to drama and sound to on-air promotions."
Andrew Christie, who was the previous majority stakeholder in Big Finish but will not be involved in the new set-up, said: "it's very difficult for mid-size facilities to gain sufficient market share and grow their businesses. The synergies you get by putting those companies in the same market give you the economies of scale to compete."
Christie went on to say that that the deal would "afford all the staff the best chance of going forward with the companies".
M2 chairman Bill Cullen denied that any of the companies were in financial trouble prior to the takeover. "The post-production industry in general had a tough time in 2002 when M2 was re-financed," he said. "Since then M2 has begun trading profitably, and Pepper is close to breaking even."
No one would confirm whether or not jobs would be lost or suites would be closed as a result of the buy-out. However, Williams did concede that "savings would be made" and that they would "review the Camden premises" with a view to its long-term potential. The futures of Pepper managing director Patrick Holzen and the three directors at Peach are not thought to be under threat.
The remaining 12.5% of the Big Finish group is owned by German facilities group Das Werk.