November 16, 2021
Anthem Sports & Entertainment Acquires Global Film Distributor Gravitas Ventures
Anthem Sports & Entertainment, Inc., a global multi-platform media company, announced today that the Company has acquired worldwide narrative film and documentary distributor Gravitas Ventures from Red Arrow Studios, the content production and distribution arm of German company ProSiebenSat.1 Group.
The purchase was made by Anthem in cash and common stock. This latest addition to the Anthem family of properties marks a continuation of the Company’s commitment to acquiring high-quality premium content and diversifying its growing portfolio with culturally relevant entertainment through both traditional and digital distribution channels. Gravitas Ventures joins a roster of high-profile properties that includes AXS TV, HDNET MOVIES, IMPACT Wrestling, Invicta Fighting Championships, Fight Network, Game+ and GameTV. The purchase gives Anthem over 8,000 hours of sports and entertainment content in its library to complement its seven consumer-facing streaming channel brands.
For over 15 years, Gravitas Ventures has been connecting filmmakers to a global audience of more than a billion people—collaborating with rising talent and established artists alike, to share important films and documentaries with viewers around the world. As one of the first companies to develop partnerships with digital media platforms, the Cleveland-based company boasts a wide-ranging network of strong connections with leading providers throughout the AVOD, PVOD, VOD, SVOD, electronic sell through, electronic rental and theatrical landscapes. It has been fueled by a simple mission to bring dynamic stories to the marketplace by building bridges between filmmakers and consumer-friendly technology offerings. Gravitas has been part of Red Arrow Studios since November 2017, and typically releases over 300 films and documentaries per year. The most recent successful films in the portfolio include the 2020 feature THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM, starring Katie Holmes and the 2021 film QUEEN BEES, starring Ellen Burstyn and James Caan.
Founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher, President Michael Murphy, EVP and General Counsel Brendan Gallagher and CFO Brian Kenyon will be joining the Anthem executive team. Additionally, the entire Gravitas Ventures organization will remain intact.
The acquisition establishes Anthem as a significant player in the burgeoning digital content distribution realm and bolsters the rosters of Anthem properties AXS TV, HDNET MOVIES and GameTV, giving each network access to Gravitas Ventures’ collection of diverse well-regarded titles. The move also opens up new areas of growth and revenue for Anthem’s existing content library, allowing Anthem to utilize Gravitas’ rich partnerships with top digital platforms.
Upon completion of the transaction, Anthem will add more than 200 customers to its ranks, while unlocking additional promotion opportunities for its various business units and enabling Gravitas to invest further in content opportunities, new themed channels and to enter the television distribution market.
Gravitas has an exciting opportunity to harness the full power of the library—leveraging Anthem’s expertise in launching highly-successful global FAST digital channels to create all-new themed channels specifically based around their unique content offerings.
“This is a significant step forward for Anthem in its mission to build a next-generation media company that is primed for the digital future, keeping Anthem ahead of the curve with the current trajectory of the fast-paced streaming-first entertainment ecosystem,” said Leonard Asper, founder and CEO of Anthem. “Gravitas is a world leader in film and documentary distribution and provides Anthem with a major presence across the top digital platforms. We are happy to welcome Nolan, Michael, Brendan, Brian and the Gravitas team on board, and to broaden our shareholder base to include Gravitas Ventures’ management and Red Arrow Studios. We are excited to build upon the incredible success that they have already achieved.”
“Anthem perfectly complements Gravitas Ventures’ mindset and mission, presenting several major platforms where our films can thrive while opening up dynamic new areas and opportunities that will be vital in helping our company grow,” said Nolan Gallagher, founder of Gravitas. “They have had tremendous success with all of their acquired properties, taking a hands-on approach that shows a great understanding for their unique products and what it takes to keep them on top in this highly competitive industry. We feel confident being a part of a talented Anthem team that is more than equipped to lead the charge for our filmmakers on this journey, and we could not be more excited to begin this new era in the legacy of Gravitas Ventures.”
New York-based Progress Partners, led by Chris Legg, Senior Managing Director, with support from team member and Managing Director, Sanjay Puri, acted as M&A financial advisors to Anthem. “Having the Progress team in our corner was a tremendous asset to us throughout the process and their insights and analysis provided a strong foundation to get this deal done,” said Ed Nordholm, Anthem’s Chief Corporate Officer.
About Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment, Inc. is a globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Toronto, London and Istanbul. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel; Fight Network, the world’s premier combat sports channel; IMPACT Wrestling, one of the world’s leading wrestling organizations specializing in original programming and live events; Game+, the leader in Esports and gaming content; Game TV, the home of game shows and competition-based reality series; and HDNet Movies, which features theatrically released films and documentaries. Anthem also has a significant ownership interest in Pursuit Channel, one of the top outdoor channels in the U.S.