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Former work experience girl takes helm as The Gate Films completes MBO


Manchester-based The Gate Films has been acquired in a management buyout (MBO) which will see the existing owners bought out by the current management team.

Thirty-year-old Serena Fylan will now become managing director of the company in a deal which sees current owners Sarah Jarvis and Simon Lewis sell the firm after 20 years. Operations director Vicky Byrne and new business director Rhiannon Lewis are the other members of the management team involved in the MBO, but the company is not revealing the new ownership structure.

Founded in 1996, The Gate achieved revenues of £6million in the last financial year and has offices in Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Cape Town. It employs 20 full time staff.

Fylan first became involved with the company while undertaking work experience while applying for university. She joined The Gate three years ago as head of production and has worked on high-end commercials, short films and pop promos.

She said: “This is an exciting time for The Gate as our sustained creative growth has allowed us to attract great scripts from many new and established agencies across the UK and Ireland.

Outgoing CEO Simon Lewis Outgoing CEO Simon Lewis

“Creating and delivering inspiring and award-winning content has been the core of our business for 20 years and now under my stewardship we aim to do more than ever before.

“My focus is very much about finding great directors and film makers to be able to offer a great range of talent to the agencies and their brands, who we work with across the UK. We have the breadth of expertise and flexibility that means we are equally at home producing a five-day international shoot as we are making table-top content in a small studio.”

The Gate has worked on projects for the likes of Hillarys and Samsung recently and was behind the campaign that saw the NHS Choir top the charts last Christmas.

Outgoing CEO Simon Lewis added: “Serena has the right drive, ambition, dedication and talent to continue to push The Gate on its exciting journey which was started 20 years ago by Sarah and I.

“Alongside the rest of the management team, Serena will ensure the way in which the company operates and the high level of service its agencies receive will remain the same, and the level of talent available to those agencies will continue to grow. The MBO was the correct route for the business, and most importantly the team, who have been a huge part of this company’s incredible growth and success.”

The Gate Films will be moving to new premises in central Manchester and launching a new website.

Fylan added: “With the company under new control it is important to make a statement of intent and we feel that by moving from the group’s HQ into our own independent space we can focus solely on pushing our own offering forwards. We’re excited about the launch of our new website which will include some exciting new talent.”

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