channel 4 has acquired a minority stake in True North, one of the fastest-growing independent production companies in Britain.
The £10m-turnover Leeds company was one of four selected for investment from the broadcaster’s £20m growth fund and is the only one outside of London.
The deal sees the departure of creative director Glynn Middleton, one of the three former Yorkshire Television producers who co-founded the company in 2001.
A spokesman for True North said Mr Middleton “is moving on to pursue fresh challenges withing the industry... and will be greatly missed”.
The spokesman added the funding will “underpin True North’s plans for continued creative development and build on the success which has seen it increase turnover by more than 40 per cent in the past two years”.
Andrew Sheldon, a director and co-founder, said: “We’re confident that entering into a partnership with Channel 4 will be a game changer for True North.
“Television is a mercurial business, and having a world class broadcaster as a stakeholder will be an enormous advantage as we grow the company nationally and internationally in such a rapidly changing environment.”
Channel 4 hopes to nurture the independent sector by providing access to funding for small to medium-sized creative companies. It is also taking minority stakes in Arrow Media, Lightbox and Popkorn.
True North makes programmes for broadcasters such the BBC, Channel 4, Five, MTV, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, UKTV and China’s CCTV9 andemploys 130 people.