U.S. markets closed

Sony Pictures Television Takes Minority Stake in U.K. Sports Producer Whisper

Ben Croll

Click here to read the full article.

Sony Pictures Television has invested in U.K. sports-focused production outfit Whisper Group.

Effective immediately, the business will replace Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund as a minority stakeholder in Whisper, which has become a leading voice in sports entertainment.

More from Variety

Founded by BAFTA-winning CEO Sunil Patel, broadcaster Jake Humphrey and F1 commentator David Coulthard, Whispers covers NFL, the Paralympics, Formula One, SailGP, Women’s Super League, and the International Cricket and W Series with a range of programming that mixes coverage and commentary. The firm also holds the Formula One rights for the U.K.’s Channel 4.

“Whisper have become one of the most talked-about production companies in the U.K.,” says Wayne Garvie, president of international production at Sony Pictures Television.

“Very quickly, they have established themselves as an innovative leader in sports content. We are thrilled to be joining Sunil, David, Jake and the team in helping to take Whisper to the next level.”

“Sport is at our heart and we’ll remain committed to immersive sports broadcasting,” adds Patel, Whisper co-founder and CEO. “However, we have other ambitions, which this move can help us to realize. We are keen to grow internationally and to develop formats that can help build an exciting IP catalogue.”

Whisper is expected to launch several new productions throughout 2020, will continue to operate out of London, Cardiff, and Maidenhead. The Whisper Group also includes graphic design agency Chapter 3 Graphics and non-scripted specialists East Media.

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, adds: “Since joining our Indie Growth Fund family in 2015, Whisper have taken their business from strength to strength – successfully transitioning into TV production and building an incredibly talented team.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with Sunil, David and Jake and wish them every success for the future as they continue to the next stage of their development with Sony.”

Imagine Capital acted on behalf of The Whisper Group during the transaction.

Sony’s roster of U.K. production outfits also includes “The Crown” producer Left Bank and “Flinch” firm Stellify Media. The company operates 24 wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies in 12 countries, as well as a stable of international linear and digital channels.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.