The four-strong party handed in their notices last Friday (12 November) and are likely to be trading by the middle of December under the name Lime. The Hive breakaways include: Nathan Laud, head of animation, Lightwave; Jamie Franks, Lightwave operator; James Niklasson, post producer; and Nick Wortman, group sales. Wortman and Niklasson are set to be co-directors of the new company with the financial backing of M2 finance director John Tadros.
The addition of the CGI personnel bring M2 a graphics capability it is currently lacking. It follows a policy of helping outside operators to set up facilities that M2 did not previously offer: audio facility Bubble has already brought audio capability and TK One telecine for restoration. Tadros said: 'It helps to bridge the gap between large firms and boutique offerings.'
Wortman said: 'Lime will target the shortform broadcast market and graphics, as well as long-form programming.'
Laud and Franks have worked on long-form projects such as Busy Buses and Smokey Silvers , as well as trails for the current series of I'm a Celebrity? Get me out of Here!.
The move follows the announcement of VTR's annual results last week and has quelled rumours of an M2-backed hostile takeover of the media company.
Toby Abbott recently joined One as head of production from VTR Media Services-owned Blue, and it has been suggested these will not be the last departures from VTR Media Services. VTR managing director Kate Sturgess is currently in talks with possible replacements.
M2 is viewing properties in which to house Lime and an additional eight suites to boost M2's offline capacity.