Fremantle Takes Stake In ‘Conversations With Friends’ Producer Element – Deadline


In another mega M&A deal, Fremantle has taken a majority stake in Irish The Favourite, Room and Conversations with Friends producer Element Pictures.

The company, one of the most prolific and respected on the European drama circuit, joins Fremantle’s roster of drama producers including The Responder indie Dancing Ledge Productions, which recently became majority-owned by Fremantle, and Italian powerhouse Lux Vide.

Fremantle said the move underlines the “strategic plan to invest in and develop premium production companies and creative talent from around the world.” The global producer-distributor has recently signed talent deals with the likes of Angelina Jolie as it attempts to expand global footprint.

Helmed by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe and based in London, Dublin and Belfast, Element is behind BBC Three/Hulu series Conversations with Friends, which launches this week, having similarly adapted Sally Rooney’s Normal People to critical acclaim. It is also producing BBC drama The Gallows Pole from Shane Meadows in association with Euphoria producer A24.

On the features side, the company has garnered Oscar/BAFTA wins and nominations for Olivia Colman-starring The Favourite and Room, which was helmed by Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson. Past credits include The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster from The Favourite’s Yorgos Lanthimos and the indie is working on another Lanthimos film, Searchlight Pictures’ Poor Things, along with Netflix’s The Wonder from Sebastián Lelio.

The Element deal was spearheaded by Fremantle’s Group COO and Continental Europe CEO, Andrea Scrosati, along with Lorenzo De Maio of De Maio Entertainment. Fremantle-owned De Maio will be a strategic advisor and partner across Element Pictures’ slate

Scrosati said Guiney and Lowe’s Element “falls into the category of the best creative minds in the business.”

“They have built an astonishing company, which has become one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative creative production companies,” he added. “We look forward to working closely with their immensely talented creatives, helping to build on their slate of high-quality, sophisticated, and powerful productions.”

Pointing out that Element turns 21 this year, Guiney said “it is incredibly exciting for us and our wonderful colleagues to be entering a new and ambitious phase of growth.”

“We are huge fans of the people at Fremantle, their vision for the future and the extraordinary talent they are working with across film and television.”

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