UK mid-market private equity firm LDC has invested in Sohonet, a leading international provider of connectivity, collaboration software, media services and network security for the media and entertainment industry.
LDC’s investment will support the existing management team, led by CEO Chuck Parker, to further build on its international growth strategy and explore complementary acquisitions.
Founded in 1995, Sohonet provides over 500 media companies and thousands of media professionals with a wide range of technically advanced and highly secure solutions. These are designed to help media professionals collaborate on projects with their internationally distributed teams to create the magic that appears on our screens for feature films, TV shows and advertising.
Sohonet’s expert team and services help to remove the obstacles that get in the way of the creative process, enabling teams to access, move, manage and store their content securely throughout the production and post-production workflow.
The business has a global presence across Europe, North America and Australasia, including locations in London, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney. It employs more than 120 people and has grown revenues by 30 per cent in the last three years.
The business operates in a market that is fuelled by the growth of leading on-demand platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, and the rising demand for highly secure technological solutions. LDC will support Sohonet to build out its leading products and services, explore new markets and complementary acquisitions.
Last year, Sohonet acquired Exchange Communications to expand its on-set offering to content makers. In response to changing working practices, the business has also been focused on the rapid expansion of its in-house ClearView suite of developed remote collaboration tools.
The investment was led by LDC’s Dewi Hughes, Steve Aston, James Garland and Oliver Schofield. Dewi and Steve will join the board alongside Tim Weller as Non-Executive Chairman, bringing a wealth of technology, production and post-production experience in the international media industry.
Chuck Parker, CEO of Sohonet, said: “We are very pleased with the growth of the business over the past six years and are proud of the brand and products we have developed. The migration of post services to the cloud, the rise of virtual production, and the explosion of remote collaboration has made our capabilities more relevant than ever, as storytellers everywhere find themselves in the golden age of content creation.
LDC has a proven track record of backing growing TMT business and supporting ambitious acquisitive growth strategies. We are really excited to work closely with the team at LDC to further enhance our market leading products and services.”
LDC’s Dewi Hughes added: “Chuck and his ambitious team came to LDC with a clearly mapped out strategy to continue to grow the business in a rapidly evolving market environment. We are therefore delighted to be investing in such a well-established, branded innovator and to support Sohonet in the next chapter of their journey.”
Sohonet adds to LDC’s existing portfolio of media and entertainment related business, having backed global TV production company Plimsoll Productions in 2019. In September last year, LDC helped Plimsoll acquire specialist distribution and rights management company Magnify Media.
In the past two years, LDC has supported its portfolio companies to complete over 50 acquisitions with a combined enterprise value of more than £250million. The private equity firm is currently supporting two thirds of its existing portfolio businesses to pursue an acquisitive growth strategy.
Banking facilities are provided by Apera and Clydesdale. Financial details of the transaction are undisclosed.
LDC was advised by GCA Altium (Corporate Finance and Debt Advisory), Osborne Clarke (Legal), CIL (Commercial Due Diligence), KPMG (Financial Due Diligence and Tax), Mentor (Technical), Intechnica (IT), Aon (Insurance) and Prelude (Management).
Sohonet was advised by Raymond James (Corporate Finance), RSM (Financial Due & Tax), EY Parthenon (Commercial Due Diligence) and Goodwin Proctor (Legal). Management were advised by Mishcon de Reya (Legal).
1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
2. LDC has committed to invest £1.2bn in UK mid-market businesses over the next three years.
3. LDC has a portfolio of 90 businesses across the UK, across a broad range of sectors including Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
4. LDC has a nationwide network of regional offices to provide a local presence to the businesses and communities it supports.
Sohonet has been connecting storytellers across the globe for over 25 years. Combining innovative technologies with world-class services, they remain the leading global expert in connectivity and data management services for the media and entertainment industry.
Sohonet offers a wide range of technical solutions, designed to enable clients to manage, store and transfer their valuable content, quickly and securely. The Sohonet Media Network is the largest and most established private, high-performance network for the M&E industry, connecting the leading studios, production and post-production facilities across the globe and providing high-speed access to established and emerging cloud platforms.