WPP sells The Farm Group to California-based rival

David Prior's picture

The Farm Group, the UK's largest post production and studio services group, has been acquired by American rival Picture Head Holdings.

The Farm, which focuses on television and film post-production, was sold by creative transformation company WPP - which had a 75% stake worth £50m - and the founders, Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn, to the Los Angeles-based company.

Picture Head Holdings operates through three divisions - Picture Shop, Picture Head and Formosa - and is backed by the private equity firms Trive in Dallas and 5 Crowns in California.

Founded in 1998, The Farm has bases in London, Manchester, Bristol and Los Angeles. It also operates the in-house post production teams for BBC Sport, multi-channel broadcaster UKTV, and international television content company Freemantle. High profile projects have included Netflix’s Riviera, the BBC’s Baptiste, and ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Sargent and Dunn will reinvest their 25% staje in the new company.

In a statement, Sargent and Dunn said: “We have grown from 12 people and 6 suites to nearly 400 people in sites across the UK and in Hollywood, so we thank WPP for letting us live the dream for the first few chapters of the Farm’s history.

The Farm founders Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn

“Now, as content provision and services become a truly international business, we have bigger dreams so are excited to be joining up with Bill and his teams. Together, Picture Shop, Formosa, Finale and The Farm give the world’s producers a seamless way to work across the Atlantic. That is why we are re-investing in the newly expanded group.”

David Klafkowski, CEO of The Farm Group, said: "“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with some of the top post professionals in the world. We are like-minded in that we want to produce the very best content and offer the best value to our clients. Honestly, combined, we have the best post teams in the world.

"Our strategy is to build a company that focuses on culture and philosophy. The Farm does both and I am delighted that they will be part of Picture Shop", added Bill Romeo, Picture Shop President. 

"This marks a very exciting step for Picture Shop and we now can offer our clients, wherever they may be based, top creative talent on a global scale."

Both WPP and the founders of The Farm were advised on the deal by UK mergers and acquisition specialist Cavendish.