Management buy-in at Breakthrough Entertainment

BE-Nat-MichaelNat Abraham and Michael McGuigan (pictured left) have bought into Breakthrough Entertainment, joining founders Ira Levy and Peter Williamson (pictured below) as partners in the producer and distributor.

Financial details were not disclosed but president of distribution Abraham and long-service CFO McGuigan, become partners under the new structure having secured financial backing in what they characterised as a management buy-in.

Speaking to TBI, the quartet said the changes position Toronto-based Breakthrough for growth. The deal comes as Breakthrough hits 30 and moves into new areas including working with digital services and platforms and feature films.

McGuigan said: “We saw an opportunity for Nat and I to participate on a different level. There was an openness from Peter and Ira to work with us and for us to participate on an ownership rather than employee level and bring a different energy.”

“It’s a good time in the market for this to happen with all of the opportunities in the Canadian and international market,” Levy said. “It means both investment in the company financially and in terms of the abilities that Nat and Michael bring.”

BE-Peter-IraAbraham said: “We’re now engaged in steering the company in new and exciting directions from series, kids, factual and now having a substantial feature film division.”

Abraham has been at Breakthrough since 2006 and McGuigan has been CFO since 1999. The equity stakes owned by each of the partners under the new structure has not been broken out, but in the mid-to-long term, Levy and Williamson are strongly tipped to step back from the company that they launched in 1984.

The company has a library of about 2,500 half hours of in-house content rising to between 3,250-3,500 with third party content included.

It has recently shopped Mother Up! to Hulu and launched Less than Kind on iTunes as it increases its exposure to digital. It also distributes a raft of lifestyle and factual programming, announcing a raft of Asian sales earlier today. Breakthrough also has TV movies and now features, as well as a plethora of kids titles.

As M&A activity in Canada and international TV ramps up the Breakthrough management accept it could become an acquisition target, although the new structure means there is no pressure to make a deal.

McGuigan told TBI: “It’s possible, when you are in a consolidation cycle and that cycle keeps moving, that we might find ourselves targeted by someone at some point,” while Williamson added: “This transaction has strengthened the brand and means we can grow without merging with someone or an amalgamation.”