Aleph Capital Partners LLP (“Aleph”), and Crestview Partners (“Crestview”), have today announced a partnership with Framestore, the UK-headquartered, Oscar-winning visual-effects and production services company, to acquire Company 3 / Method, one of the world’s leading post-production and visual effects companies. Following completion of the acquisition, Aleph and Crestview will become the majority shareholders of the enlarged company.
Acquisition will create an industry-leading player in a fast-growing market driven by the explosion of content production and the growth of streaming platforms.
The combination of Framestore and Company 3 / Method will create an industry-leading player in a fast-growing market driven by the explosion of content production, and the growth of streaming platforms, bringing together two of the world’s top creative businesses in film, television and advertising.
Following the investment from Aleph and Crestview, the merged business will represent the next phase of the industry, uniquely uniting all aspects that support the making of entertainment and communications content – from concept, through to digital and post-production. It will create the only global studio working across every part of the creative and production process, and represent a partnership that has together won every major creative award in the film, television, advertising, mixed reality, stereo conversion and experiential sectors.
Framestore is headquartered in London with creative studios in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Montréal and Mumbai. The company has been a powerhouse in leading entertainment, from its work on box office hits such as Avengers End Game, Blade Runner 2049 and Gravity as well as original series for streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and Disney+, to immersive theme park experiences for the likes of Wanda and Lionsgate Entertainment World.
Company 3 / Method (C3M) is based across eleven cities in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India. It partners with many of the world’s leading directors, studios, advertising agencies and streaming platforms and has worked on critically acclaimed hit films such as 1917 and eagerly awaited movies such as Top Gun: Maverick.
Sir William Sargent, co-founder and CEO of Framestore, said: “Our vision for the future of our industry is storytelling across all the media of content delivery – from mobile to IMAX; and headset to theme parks. Stories originated in one medium need to be able to travel across all of these and be adapted creatively and technically for each. Our partnership with Aleph and Crestview has allowed us and our expanded team to lead in the innovation of this new content world.”
Stefan Sonnenfeld, Company 3’s founder and Company 3 / Method’s president, said: “We are combining two great teams in Framestore and Company 3 / Method, both bringing world-class expertise from our respective fields. What we have achieved as individual companies sets the tone for what we can deliver as a united force. The road ahead represents an incredibly exciting journey that I am thrilled about.”
Hugues Lepic, Founder and CEO of Aleph Capital, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Sir William and Stefan in the creation of a world leading player in the creative services industry. This is an industry where we have significant experience and are excited about the potential of this newly-enlarged group.”
Brian Cassidy, Partner and Head of Media at Crestview, added: “The combined business is strategically well-positioned to capitalise on the unprecedented global demand for video content across a range of distribution platforms.”
On the growth opportunities presented by the acquisition, Sir William noted that: “Beyond the creative opportunities presented, the acquisition reinforces our global business footprint by deepening our roots in California, increasing our headcount in India, and giving our two companies the necessary scale to compete effectively.”
Aleph and Crestview were advised by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and PrcewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Framestore was advised by Ashurst LLP.
Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisor to Company 3 / Method and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP acted as its legal counsel.
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About Aleph Capital
Aleph Capital Partners LLP is a long-term oriented investment firm with a mandate to provide capital solutions to ambitious companies seeking to unlock their growth potential. The firm was founded by Hugues Lepic, who led the European private equity investing business of Goldman Sachs (“Goldman Sachs Capital Partners”) between 2006 and 2012. Aleph is focused on investments where its ability to commit flexible capital and to support management teams can lead to accelerated value creation.
Founded in 2004, Crestview Partners is a New York-based private equity firm focused on the middle market. Crestview manages funds with over $9 billion of aggregate capital commitments. The firm is led by a group of partners who have complementary experience and distinguished backgrounds in private equity, finance, operations and management. Crestview has senior investment professionals focused on sourcing and managing investments in each of the specialty areas of the firm: media, industrials, and financial services. For more information: www.crestview.com.
Framestore is an Oscar-winning creative studio that uses innovative talent and technology to create high-end images for every platform. Framestore partners with clients ranging from Hollywood studios through to advertisers, ad agencies, production companies and video game developers. In addition to being recognised for its globally celebrated visual effects, Framestore has more recently made its name as an innovator in the digital space by focusing on the immersive engagement potential of interactive visual effects.
About Company 3 / Method
Creative Services Group is one of the world’s leading image creation to finishing companies. Through unmatched scale, experience, expertise, technology and capabilities, C3M partners with the world’s leading content creators, broadcasters, OTTs and agencies. With headquarters in Los Angeles and New York with operations in eleven cities and a team of 3,500 premier artists, experts, engineers and innovators.