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Fremantle Acquires Majority Stake in ‘Normal People’ Producer Element Pictures

Production company co-founded by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe is also behind films such as ”Room“ and ”The Favourite“

Fremantle has acquired a majority stake in Element Pictures, the production company behind the acclaimed series “Normal People,” the upcoming “Conversations With Friends” and the award winning films “The Favourite” and “Room.”

The deal was spearheaded by Fremantle’s Group COO, and Continental Europe CEO, Andrea Scrosati and Lorenzo De Maio, of De Maio Entertainment. For Fremantle, the acquisition furthers their plans to invest in and develop premium production companies and creative talents from around the world. De Maio Entertainment, a Fremantle-backed company, will be a strategic advisor and partner across Element Pictures’ slate.

Last August, RTL Group announced its aim to increase Fremantle’s full-year revenue target to €3 billion by 2025. The acquisition of Element Pictures forms part of Fremantle’s wider growth strategy to invest in production companies, content and talent.

Element Pictures is managed by co-founders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, with offices in Dublin, London, and Belfast, and the company works across production, distribution and exhibition.

“Conversations With Friends” premieres on BBC and Hulu on May 15 and is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Leanne Welham, based on Sally Rooney’s debut novel. Rooney is also the author of “Normal People,” which released in 2020.

On the film side, other Element Pictures credits include Abrahamson’s “Room” and “The Little Stranger,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Lobster” and Sebastián Lelio’s “Disobedience” and Sean Durkin’s “The Nest.”

“Element Pictures is 21 years old this year and it is incredibly exciting for us and our wonderful colleagues to be entering a new and ambitious phase of growth in partnership with our friends at Fremantle at a truly exhilarating time for our industry,” Guiney and Lowe said in a statement. “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. Collaborating closely with Jen, Andrea, Lorenzo, Christian, Jens, and their brilliant team will allow us to build on and grow our existing relationships with the very best creators in the world and expand our capacity to make exceptional film and television drama for international audiences.”

“Fremantle is proud to be investing and partnering with the very best creative minds in the business. Ed, Andrew, and the amazing Element Pictures team certainly fall into this category. They have built an astonishing company, which has become one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative creative production companies,” Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle Group COO, CEO Continental Europe, said. “We look forward to working closely with their immensely talented creatives, helping to build on their slate of high-quality, sophisticated, and powerful productions. Creative freedom will sit at the very heart of this partnership, and everyone at Fremantle is excited to be working with the Element Pictures team and supporting their growth internationally.”

Fremantle has been on an investment spree over the last 12 months, including acquiring UK based independent production company, Dancing Ledge, scripted Italian production company Lux Vide, international development and production company Fabel, Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions and UK unscripted production company Label1, as well as 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group.

Element Pictures current television in production includes “The Gallows Pole” (BBC/A24), “The Dry” (BritBox/RTE/ITV Studios/Screen Ireland). Current films in post-production include Sebastián Lelio’s “The Wonder” (Netflix) with Florence Pugh; Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures), starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe; Stephen William’s historical biopic “Chevalier” (Searchlight Pictures), starring Kelvin Harrison Jr and Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter” (BBC Films/A24) starring Tilda Swinton.

Recent Element Pictures film releases include Phyllida Lloyd’s “Herself,” and Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir Part II” (BBC Films/A24) which enjoyed its world premiere at Directors’ Fortnight 2021.