Saffery Champness acquires Grant Thornton Ireland’s Media & Entertainment Practice

8 Apr 2019

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Saffery Champness has acquired Grant Thornton Ireland’s Media & Entertainment Practice, based in Dublin. Under the deal, the team of 11 people, headed up by John Gleeson, will join Saffery Champness with effect from 8 April and will operate from Saffery Champness’ new Irish office located at 99 St Stephen’s Green in central Dublin.

John Gleeson has over 20 years’ commercial experience in providing tax advice and advisory services, with a particular focus on the media and entertainment sector in Ireland and abroad. John and his team have worked on TV shows such as Doc McStuffins, Ripper Street, Vikings, Nightflyers and Game of Thrones, and films such as Room, The Breadwinner, Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and The Rhythm Section. The team will continue to focus on advising domestic and international clients on film and TV financing, specialising in Ireland’s Section 481 film and TV tax incentive.

Saffery Champness’ existing UK Film & TV team already comprises 48 people, including seven partners. It has worked on recent high-profile film projects such as Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Mama Mia – Here We Go Again and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Its more recent TV projects have included Poldark, Game of Thrones, Bodyguard and Sex Education.

The transaction further enhances Saffery Champness’ presence in the film and TV sector and brings further strength in depth across both the UK and Ireland.

Matthew Burton, Managing Partner of Saffery Champness, comments:

“Film and television is a core chosen market for us as a business and an area where we boast significant strength and depth of expertise. I am certain that John and his team will prove a real asset to the firm, enhancing our capabilities and range of client services as well as furthering our international reach.

Taken together, we believe our offering in the film and TV sector across the UK and Ireland makes us the go-to advisers to US producers seeking to create films and television shows in Europe, as well as to domestic producers working in both jurisdictions.”

Nigel Burke, Partner in Saffery Champness’ film & TV team, comments:

“John and his team are highly respected in the industry and it is clear that there are great synergies between our two teams. They are exceptionally well-versed at guiding clients through the complexities of the Irish film and TV incentive regime which complements very much our own experience and expertise with the UK’s incentives in the creative sector.

It is very exciting to bring together the market leaders in both territories in this respect and we look forward to providing the benefits of our enhanced team to our clients from around the globe.”

John Gleeson said:

“I speak for the whole team when I say that we are very excited about joining Saffery Champness. We share the same core values and commitment to providing our clients with the very best advice and highest levels of service. The complementary expertise and knowledge of the two film and TV teams in the UK and Ireland make us a natural fit and give us even greater resource to serve an even wider range of clients.”

Speaking on the acquisition, Michael McAteer, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton, commented:

“Grant Thornton and Saffery Champness have collaborated in recent years on client engagements, leading to a thorough understanding of each other’s culture and ways of working. As Saffery Champness were looking to increase their international film and TV offering into the Irish market, we recognised from our previous experience working with them, that it was the right fit.

We believe that this is a great opportunity for John and Saffery Champness and we are excited to see them build on our experience to date and expand the media offering across Ireland, the UK and further afield.”

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