The boards of EMG and Gravity Media have announced the completion of a definitive agreement to combine their businesses.
The combination of the two companies creates one of the world’s largest broadcast technology and production organizations.
The new entity, which is yet to be named, will include more than 100 outside broadcast trucks and flypacks and 40 studios and production facilities across Europe, the Middle East, United States, and Australia.
It will also have 30 offices across 12 countries, with a total of 2,000 permanent employees and access to a global network of freelance personnel.
The new entity will be led by Shaun Gregory, the current CEO of EMG, as its global chief executive officer. John Newton, founder, CEO and majority shareholder of Gravity Media, will serve as executive chairman.
Speaking to TV Tech sister brand TVBEurope as part of a media briefing, Newton and Gregory revealed the deal was officially signed before Christmas and has passed all regulatory hurdles.
The two companies first began discussing the merger pre-Covid, added Newton, and resumed negotiations last year.
“This is a non-cash transaction, which is why it’s a merger,” he added. “It takes the best of both businesses. There is a scale difference. The EMG business is bigger than the Gravity Media business, but all of the existing Gravity Media and EMG stakeholders are now in the new combination.”
The merger provides a much bigger and more stable company in an environment in an industry that’s been through some difficult times, added Gregory.
Asked what it means for staff, Newton said he doesn’t see much crossover between the two businesses. “One of the reasons for doing the deal is that the geographic markets are quite separate,” he added.
“Gravity Media has a big position in APAC, a bigger position in the U.S. than EMG. Obviously, we have some overlap in the U.K. but Gravity’s U.K. business provides slightly different services to EMG. There’s a good story for the aggregation of those services from glass to eyeball as such. We’re production and content, and media services and facilities. So that’s a combination of creative elements and also technical elements as well.”
In terms of geography in the U.K., Newton said he expects that in time all of the new entity’s production staff will move into Gravity Media’s White City production center, while the OB trucks and back-off staff will likely move to one single location, “if a location that can accommodate the scale of what’s needed can be found.”
“We’re always looking to improve, optimise and have an efficient business,” added Newton. “So just because there’s a merger, there doesn’t always have to be fallout from that.
“If you look at our industry, generally, all of our competitors are suffering from the same challenges that we have. Hopefully, those bad days are behind us and we’re going to start to see credit markets settle, inflation coming back under control, and that’s going to drive a growth phase. We want to take the best of the services that we have globally, offer them to our current markets plus new markets, which will mean we’ll be looking for more staff in those areas where we don’t work.”
According to Gregory, the merger allows the new entity to aggregate component parts of both businesses, enabling it to offer customers more services. “This industry is not behind the times, but I think it’s not mature, and there’s an opportunity to take a more proactive role,” he explained.
“There’s a kind of gap in the market for an Amazon of this sector, a truly digitized business that connects both people and customers around the world. There’s a real opportunity for someone to step in and provide that real customer-facing point where you can just do something differently.”