Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, the independent film finance and production company behind this year’s Academy Award Best Picture nominee Hell or High Water, and Hong Kong-based Ivanhoe Pictures have merged to form SK Global. SKE Chairman/CEO Sidney Kimmel and Ivanhoe Pictures Chairman Robert Friedland, who will be Co-Chairmen of SK Global will now join to produce and finance film and television content. In addition, China-focused private equity fund and prominent investment management company China Cultural and Entertainment Fund (CCEF) is taking a substantial equity position in SK Global.
SK Global will now control the combined libraries of both companies (including all current productions), consisting of more than 75 features which — besides Hell or High Water — includes The Place Beyond the Pines, The Age of Adaline, United 93, Adventureland, Lars and the Real Girl, the five-time Academy Award-nominated In The Bedroom, Swimfan, A Prairie Home Companion and others. Several films in the library are already being considered for local-language film and TV remakes for other audiences around the world.
SKE and Ivanhoe began collaborating on a slate of local-language productions after John Penotti – a long-time executive and producer, and co-founder of Ivanhoe Pictures – introduced the two chairmen in 2015. That’s when Penotti became President of Kimmel’s SKE while continuing to lead Ivanhoe’s expansion into international markets, including India, Korea, and China.
Under terms of the merged companies, SK Global becomes the parent entity, while Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Ivanhoe Pictures will continue to release film and TV projects under their respective labels.
CCEF Chairwoman Yang Liu and Managing Director Alick Dong will now “provide strategic advice to SK Global” as the new venture expands into Asian markets. Dong will join Kimmel, Friedland and Penotti on the SK Global Board of Directors. Longtime Kimmel advisor Matthew Kamens and Ivanhoe Pictures Vice Chairman Gary Gartner also will join the board.
The SK Global merger agreement was negotiated by Ivanhoe’s Gary Gartner, Michael Hogan and Brian Kornreich, and law firm Gibson Dunn. CCEF was represented by Alick Dong and law firm Loeb and Loeb. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment was represented in the transaction by law firm Cozen O’Connor and its Chief Financial Officer, Richard Lewis.