‘A Natural Fit’: Inside NEP Group’s Acquisition of Fletcher
NEP’s Mike Werteen, Fletcher’s Dan Grainge reflect on this week’s major deal
Mike Werteen, global president, NEP Broadcast Services, has a personal litmus test when weighing client response immediately following his company’s acquisition of another. In the aftermath of Monday’s announcement that the global live-mobile-production giant had acquired specialty-camera provider Fletcher Group, the feedback was universal.
“To a person,” Werteen says, “everyone has come back and said that this makes complete sense and that they are happy seeing Fletcher become a part of the NEP family.”
So what does the deal mean? NEP Group, the largest mobile-production–facilities provider in the world, gets even larger, adding to its clout in the rental market by putting Fletcher offerings alongside its Bexel wing, which NEP acquired just over a year ago.
With the deal, NEP stocks up on Fletcher’s arsenal of specialty super-slow-motion and robotic cameras. Fletcher, for its part, capitalizes on the big-event synergy that already existed between the two companies and has the opportunity to work even more major events than before. Werteen confirms the initial announcement that Fletcher will keep its name and that NEP will support the company’s two offices (Chicago and London), with Fletcher President Dan Grainge remaining on board to oversee the unit.
“The team that Dan has put together and the position that they have in the industry in ultra-slow-motion cameras and robotics are top-notch,” says Werteen. “We always want to be associated with and have people within our family that are leaders in the business.
“When we looked across the companies that fit that profile,” he continues, “it was a natural path for us to consider Fletcher. As we learned more about the business and Dan’s leadership capabilities, we saw that it aligned with our strategy, and it synergized when we considered the acknowledgment from our clients about how good the customer service and customer support that Fletcher provides.”
The acquisition is a testament to how Fletcher has been able to remain the elite source of specialty cameras in the U.S. for nearly three decades — an incredible feat given how much of a minefield of disruption the live-video-production industry can be. According to Grainge, it’s the company’s hustle to remain ahead of the curve that has helped it solidify its position in the market.
“We don’t get tired, we don’t get lazy, and we continue our focus to innovate,” says Grainge. “At Fletcher, we always have at least three innovations in the pipeline. Some of those hit, and some of those miss. We continue to innovate and keep everything fresh. We always want to have a response for the people that want something new coming down the line that they might be able to use.”
Ultra-slow-motion cameras (and even robotics, to an extent) are the sexy, in-vogue toys on many of the biggest live sports productions. Unique angles loaded with detail and giving fans a close look at the action are what many sports storytellers are looking to splurge on in their productions.
“That’s what intrigued us about Fletcher,” says Werteen. “Because we have so many common clients now, we’ve seen the focus that producers and directors have on unique angles in sports and entertainment and super-slo-mo elements in sports. We saw this as a natural fit.”