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Gibson Group in management buyout as founder takes NZFC role

Gibson Group in management buy-out as founder Dave Gibson takes NZFC role

By Paul McBeth

Dec. 3 (BusinessDesk) - Wellington-based television and film production firm Gibson Group has bucked the recent trend of being snapped up by foreigners with a management buy-out underway as founder Dave Gibson departs to take over at the New Zealand Film Commission.

Senior staffers including chief executive Victoria Spackman, director of exhibition projects Allan Smith, producer Bevin Linkhorn and exhibitions producer Brett Tompkins are expected to complete their purchase of Dave Gibson’s shares by the end of the month, the company said in a statement. That frees up Gibson to take over as chief executive of the Film Commission in January next year.

“This is a significant step in the history of the business, and the new owners are confident and motivated to build on the company’s reputation for new and engaging viewer and visitor experiences,” Spackman said. “We are also determined to create new content and technology at the forefront of the radical changes happening in television, film, on-line and museum experiences.”

The local management buy-out is at odds with other New Zealand production firms, which have chosen to sell or merge with international buyers, the most recent being Greenstone TV purchase by Australia’s Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder.

Other overseas companies buying up local production firms include UK-based All3Media’s takeover of South Pacific Pictures earlier this year, and follows in the footsteps of foreign ownership of Eyeworks Touchdown Productions, the Natural History Unit and Screentime.

The buy-out comes at a time when New Zealand’s screen industry is coming under pressure to lift its incentives for big budget foreign film and television productions, and the government is looking at short-term measures to tide the sector over.

The Gibson Group has been a mainstay of Wellington screen sector for more than three decades, producing TV shows including political satires Public Eye and Facelift, and more recently NZ Detectives and Prison Families.


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