Private equity-backed outfit buys UK’s top production payroll and accounting company


Leading UK production payroll and accounting specialist Sargent-Disc has been sold to California-based Cast & Crew, a provider of software and services for the entertainment industry.

The acquisition is the fifth such deal in the last four years for Cast & Crew, which was founded in 1976. Its payroll and production software and services include CAPS, Final Draft, Critique and Checks & Balances.

Cast & Crew was itself acquired last year by private equity firm EQT from technology investor Silver Lake.

Cast & Crew said the purchase of Sargent-Disc fitted with its ambition to become the end-to-end global provider of software and payroll services for film, television, live events, commercials and music tours.

The acquisition will give Cast & Crew a strong foothold in the UK and international payroll market. In 2017, Sargent-Disc processed payroll payments totaling over £1bn, representing a major portion of UK production spend.

Sargent Disc’s portfolio also includes the Digital Production Office suite of software, including CrewStart, Digital Purchase Order and the SD Production Card.

The family-owned company was launched in 1986 by Marija and John Sargent as an affiliate of California-based DISC Inc (now Entertainment Partners). For the past eleven years, the firm has been run by brother-and-sister team Lara and Laurence Sargent (pictured above with Marija and John).

Sargent-Disc will continue to operate under its own brand with its current staff based at its headquarters in Beaconsfield. Laurence and Lara Sargent will continue to oversee the operations of Sargent-Disc and will lead international growth efforts for the combined company.

“The addition of Sargent-Disc to the Cast & Crew family marks an important milestone in our company’s history as we enter the UK and various international markets,” said Eric Belcher, chief executive officer of Cast & Crew.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with Cast & Crew. Their payroll, digital products and residuals have been at the forefront of industry innovation and we are looking forward to driving the international expansion of Cast & Crew,” said Lara Sargent.

Laurence Sargent added: “Our ethos and strategies are well aligned, and this deal provides us with an opportunity to better support the needs of our clients through the complexities of international production. Our combined cultures and focus on customer service excellence will enhance our ability to deliver innovative Digital Production Office solutions - providing our clients with an unparalleled suite of services.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Cast & Crew was represented by the law firm of Latham & Watkins, LLP. Sargent-Disc was represented by Harbottle & Lewis LLP.