Farm Group 'put up for sale by WPP'

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Farm Group

Post production company The Farm Group, which has two bases in Manchester, has been put up for sale, according to Sky News.

WPP is reported to have engaged advisers to sell its controlling stake in the Emmy Award-winning agency, which works on shows including The X Factor and The Grand Tour. Prolific North contacted WPP about the story and is still awaiting a response. 

Farm North, which supplies bookings management, operational and creative staff for the edit suites and sports news studio galleries for the BBC, has been based at MediaCityUK for more than seven years, while Farm Manchester, the UK's largest regional post-production facility, opened earlier this year.

It occupies 23,000 sq ft adjoining the Old Granada Studio site in central Manchester. 

WPP has been the principal backer of the company for the last two decades and a deal is likely to include the sale of its 75% stake as well as the remaining shares of founders Nicky Sargent and Vikki Dunn.

The Farm has already drawn "substantial" interest from other players in the sector, according to Sky News, and any sale is likely to command a price tag of about £50m.

New chief executive Mark Read, who took up the role after founder Sir Martin Sorrell resigned in April, is beginning to reshape the company and has already presided over the sale of a number of other assets. He has also signalled plans to offload a majority stake in market research arm Kantar.

The company's shares have performed poorly this year, falling by a third in the last quarter alone, partly as a consequence of long-term shifts in advertising spending.