Production giant Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in Silvio Productions, the Israeli production company behind documentary series Shadow of Truth, Coastal Road Killer, After Midnight, The Baby Daddy and Buried.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Fremantle is part of media giant Bertelsmann’s RTL Group.
Silvio, formerly known as Egg Films, was recently nominated for two honors at this year’s News and Documentary Emmy Awards. It was founded by award-winning Israeli-based director-writer-producers Yotam Guendelman and Mika Timor.
“The acquisition of Silvio Productions further underlines Fremantle’s commitment and ambition to grow its global documentaries proposition, investing in and helping develop premium production companies working with the world’s most exceptional creative talent,” the company said.
The deal was spearheaded by Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle’s group COO and CEO of continental Europe, and Guy Hameiri, co-founder of Abot Hameiri, the Fremantle-owned Israeli production company behind international hit drama Shtisel (Netflix), the recently announced East Side and original formats Power Couple, Hear Me Love Me See Me, as well as the Israeli producer for such global formats as Got Talent, Survivor and The X Factor.
“Yotam Guendelman and Mika Timor will collaborate and work closely with Abot Hameiri in Israel as well as benefitting from Fremantle’s global infrastructure, international distribution and strategic support across the 27 territories in which it operates around the world,” Fremantle said. “Under the agreement, Guy Hameiri will assume the position of chairman of Silvio Productions, with Guendelman and Timor reporting into him.”
Shadow of Truth premiered on Israeli HOT8 channel and was subsequently picked up by Netflix for worldwide distribution. “Released in over 190 countries, the series was labeled as one of the most-watched true-crime shows on Netflix and won several awards, including the 2017 Israeli Academy Television Awards for best documentary series,” Fremantle said.
The firm’s recent productions include Buried (Showtime), which follows the story of Eileen Franklin who suddenly remembered witnessing the murder of her best childhood friend, and the film The Baby Daddy (Yes Docu), which follows Ari Nagel, a math professor and the father of 117 children, and counting. The film had its international premiere in Austin Film Festival.
Said Guendelman and Timor: “This is a truly unique opportunity for us. To join forces with the incredibly talented Fremantle team, with its unrivaled international infrastructure, and to work with Guy and the Abot Hameiri team, who are without doubt one of the best production companies in Israel. The cultural, creative, and business rationale is natural, and we look forward to working closely with Andrea (Scrosati) and Guy (Hameiri). With their support and the global reach of Fremantle, we will take our business growth trajectory and our ambitious slate to the next level.”
Added Scrosati: “Fremantle is committed to working with the very best talent and creative minds in the business. Yotam and Mika and the team at Silvio Productions have a proven track-record and take great pride in their filmmaking and storytelling. We welcome them into the Fremantle family at this important time, as we look to scale up our global documentaries capabilities. I would like to thank Guy (Hameiri) for his leadership and continued focus in growing and optimizing our valued business and IP in Israel. I believe Silvio Productions will perfectly complement Abot Hameiri’s premium scripted and formats divisions, and we are extremely excited to see both businesses benefit from this collaboration.”
The investment in Silvio Productions follows various Fremantle acquisitions over the past 12 months. They include U.K. production company Dancing Ledge (The Responder), scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), international development and production company Fabel (Bosch), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance, Finding Magic Mike) and 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (This is Nice Group), Irish production company Element Pictures (Normal People, The Favourite), and most recently, 72 Films (All or Nothing: Arsenal, 9/11: One Day in America) and natural history and premium factual content production company, Wildstar Films (America the Beautiful, Epic Adventures with Bertie Gregory).
In August 2021, RTL Group set targets to increase Fremantle’s full-year revenue to €3 billion by 2025. “The acquisition of Silvio forms part of Fremantle’s wider growth strategy to invest in production companies, content and talent around the world to source the best creative ideas, develop and create strong and unmissable IP,” Fremantle said.