Client Stories

Partnering for the long-term with Silvergate

How our 8 year relationship with Silvergate helped them negotiate their $195 million deal with Sony

We have worked with Silvergate Media for many years – indeed lawyers in our team helped founders Waheed Alli and William Astor set up the group back in 2011. Silvergate is a critically acclaimed, specialist independent media company developing world-class children’s brands for multi-platform broadcasters and retail partners with offices in London and New York and significant operations in China.

The company was founded by Lord Alli and Viscount Astor in October 2011 through the purchase of the rights to the two pre-school properties, Peter Rabbit and the Octonauts.  Since then the company has established a studio in New York which has released Sunny Day on Nickelodeon and Hilda on Netflix with a number of new properties currently in production and development.

Why Silvergate chose us

In the time since its founding, Silvergate has gone from strength to strength – especially in recent years. In 2016, LA-based investment firm Shamrock Capital took a stake in part of the group and the following year Silvergate embarked on a joint venture with Beijing-based Wanda Group to further develop the Octonauts IP in Asia. We helped Silvergate to negotiate both deals and have very much participated with them on every step of the journey.

It was perhaps inevitable that Silvergate’s success would attract buyer interest – a testament to the hard work its founders had put into establishing the company as a player in the children’s TV market.

When Sony Pictures expressed an interest in the company, Silvergate asked us to be involved. We knew the company, its history, its management and shareholders, and had built up deep, trusted relationships with all of them over the years. Silvergate felt it was important that their legal advisors for the transaction really understood them, how they liked to work and their business.

The deal team

Matt Stoate led the team advising on the deal. Matt has worked with Silvergate and its founders for many years and has built a strong relationship with them over that time. The team included Charlotte Hugo and Grace Blackburn from our corporate team, tax director John Pindard and head of Media and Entertainment Peter Singfield, who advised on intellectual property and related questions.

The solution

A final purchase price of $195 million was agreed with the management team remaining in place to take Silvergate onto its next chapter. This represented a great result for Silvergate, its founders and Shamrock – who exited the business under the deal. Silvergate’s leadership remains in place and they will continue to define the strategy and vision for the business.  We look forward to continuing to help them execute their ambitions.

What they said

"From their history of working with us, they understand the nuts and bolts of Silvergate's business model, as well as our vision and ambition, and they used that knowledge to bring what was a complex multi-jurisdictional transaction with many moving parts together.

"Their advice meant that we ended up with a deal that was right for us, right for Sony, right for our investors and, ultimately, right for our audiences."

Waheed Alli Founder, Silvergate

The result

Silvergate’s founder Waheed Alli told us how our support had helped the deal succeed. He said, “Working with Matt and the rest of the Foot Anstey team made a real difference to the success of the deal.

The deal attracted considerable press coverage, reflecting the fact that it was a big move for Sony into the children’s TV market.

Matt Stoate added: “It has been a real privilege to be able to work with such ambitious and entrepreneurial business leaders as Waheed, William and the rest of the Silvergate team for the past eight years. We look forward to continuing to support them power the Group on to further success.”

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