TV production company Bad Wolf is up for sale

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One of the UK’s leading TV production companies, Bad Wolf, is up for sale.

Headquartered in Cardiff at its Wolf Studios Wales, where leading productions such as His Dark Materials and a Discovery of Witches are filmed, it is understood that the sales process is down to two final bidders, with Bad Wolf valued at around £50m.

The business was set in 2015 by former BBC executives Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter.

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Alongside fellow director Natasha Hale they own the majority of equity in the business, with a 24.9% stake for Access Entertainment, a division of Access Industries owned by industrialist Len Blavatnik. Media giants Sky and HBO both have 5% stakes in Bad Wolf.

It is not known if HBO or Sky are bidding to acquire the business, or whether the current directors could maintain some equity interest post any deal.

The sales process is being overseen by GCA Advisors.

As well as bringing leading productions to Wales, the directors of Bad Wolf have played a key role in the promotion of Wales’ wider creative industries sector globally. They have also ensured a much wider economic impact for the Welsh economy from Bad Wolf productions by championing a strong indigenous supply chain.

However, an acquisition does raise the question of what commitment a new owner would have for maintaining the Wolf Studios Wales operation. Could they for instance opt to move productions to lower cost locations or those offering more generous filming incentives like Romania?

Bad Wolf declined to comment when asked if the business is up for sale.

The freehold interest in Wolf Studios Wales, at the site of the former Nippon Glass factory in Cardiff Bay, is owned by the Welsh Government with Bad Wolf having entered into a long-term lease.

Bad Wolf is currently in post production for the next series of a Discovery for Witches, with current filming including that for the next series of His Dark Materials and Industry.

Its latest published accounts, for the financial year to the end of December, 2019, show the business generating revenues of £90m and pre-tax profits of £2.8m.

The business employs around 500. In 2019 it was named as the fastest-growing indigenous firm in Wales in the Wales Fast Growth 50 initiative.

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