Simons Muirhead Burton acts for Banijay UK as it teams up with Lenny Henry for new production company

25th October 2023

SMB’s Corporate, Commercial & Finance team are delighted to have again acted for Banijay UK as they invest in Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Esmerelda Pictures.

This is SMB’s third deal representing Banijay’s Growth Fund, after also acting on Banijay’s investments into Rabbit Track Pictures (James Norton and Kitty Kaletsky) and into Tommy Bulfin and Kim Varvell’s Conker Pictures.

Banijay is a global leader in content production and distribution, boasting over 120 production companies operating in 22 territories. With its extensive reach and resources, Banijay has established itself as the largest international content producer and distributor in the world.

Henry will head up Esmerelda alongside former Casualty and Eastenders Executive Producer Jon Sen, with the new venture focusing on comedy and drama with an emphasis on under-represented voices.

The SMB team on this deal was led by Partner Neal Hodges working with Associate Lucy Newman, with support from Partner and Co-head of the Employment team, Tamara Ludlow.

Neal commented: “It was great to work with Banijay UK and the Esmerelda team to close this deal.

“All of us here at SMB wish Banijay UK, Sir Lenny Henry and Jon Sen every success, and look forward to seeing some superb dramatic content as Esmerelda grows its slate.”