20 March, 2013 | By Lisa Campbell
Pawn Stars producer Leftfield Entertainment has acquired fellow US reality producer Sirens Media in a landmark debt-funded deal.
It sees the creation of a new US super-indie, funded for the first time by bank financing. The consortium of financers comprises Barclays Bank, RBS Citizens and Sun Trust.
Despite indies failing to own IP as they do in the UK, companies are becoming increasingly attractive to backers as a result of decent production margins and cable networks placing bigger orders for original content.
New York based Leftfield is one of the largest independent TV production companies in the US, producing nearly 600 hours and 900 episodes of unscripted programming. Output includes 8 series of Pawn Stars which it is also remaking for History UK, as well as spin-off American Restoration. It is headed up by Brent Montgomery, and the chief executive officer, says he plans to make further acquistions to create an entertainment powerhouse.
Sirens Media, based in Washington was founded in 2005 by producers Rebecca Toth Diefenbach and Valerie Haselton. It produces Bravo’s hit docu-soap Real Housewives of New Jersey, now in its fifth season, and has nine series in production for Discovery ID, including Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?
The deal was brokered by London-based About Corporate Finance.
“This is a great strategic fit for two “like-minded” production companies both of which have built their companies into extremely successful producers of long running reality TV programmes, and have an impressive development slate for future growth. This is a landmark deal which creates a new US super-indie and is another exciting transaction in the vibrant US TV production sector,” said Thomas Dey, chief executive officer.