David Ellison’s Skydance Media has received a $275 million strategic investment from RedBird Capital Partners and CJ Entertainment and Merchandising (CJ ENM), the studio behind the 4x Oscar-winning Parasite. All in, this takes Skydance Media’s value to $2.3 billion.
Skydance’s current investor base, including the Ellison family and Tencent Holdings Ltd., also participated in the investment round.
The equity investment solidifies a strategic partnership with RedBird Capital and CJ ENM to further support Skydance’s substantial growth trajectory. RedBird Capital, founded by former Goldman Sachs Partner Gerald Cardinale, led the investment round and brings to Skydance its expertise in scaling owner-operated companies with a focus on growing value over time.
In this new partnership with CJ ENM and Studio Dragon, Skydance will collaborate with both studios’ on the project level, tapping into their vast libraries which appeal to a worldwide audience. In addition the team-up with CJ ENM, strengthens Skydance’s presence within the Asia Pacific region. While it has yet to be determined if English-remakes will be made of such popular CJ Movies like Roaring Currents, Extreme Job and Ode to My Father, CJ also has a platinum TV library of local hit series including Crash Landing On You, Mr. Sunshine, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Grandpas Over Flowers, and I Can See Your Voice which have the potential to crossover to a massive audience. Skydance will work with CJ to build on that TV show library, of which the latter will distribute.
“We are honored to partner with RedBird Capital and CJ ENM. These are sophisticated strategic partners who believe in our creative vision and our ambitious strategy to build the studio of the future,” said David Ellison, Skydance Media Founder and CEO and Jesse Sisgold, Skydance Media President and COO. “Their partnership will help propel us to another decade of exponential growth as we look to shape the future of where entertainment is heading.”
“As the media entertainment landscape continues to evolve against the backdrop of a transformational distribution ecosystem, I can’t think of a more compelling pure play content company than Skydance Media,” said Gerry Cardinale, Founder and Managing Partner, RedBird Capital Partners. “Under David’s leadership and strategic vision, Skydance has established a diversified content creation platform that prioritizes world class production and original content generation with financial discipline and a focus on building equity value for the long term. We look forward to working with CJ ENM, Tencent and the Ellison family to help Skydance reach its tremendous potential.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Skydance Media along with RedBird Capital, Tencent and the Ellison family,” said Min Heoi Heo, CEO of CJ ENM. “CJ is singularly focused on strengthening borderless content to attract global audiences. With partners who share our vision, together we will create exceptional content to define the next chapter of the entertainment industry.”
Skydance counts well over $5.8B at the global box office. This year, the studio has five feature films slated to premiere, including Top Gun: Maverick, The Old Guard, Without Remorse, Snake Eyes and The Tomorrow War and begins production on the seventh and eighth installments in the immensely popular Mission: Impossible film series. On the TV side, Skydance has Grace and Frankie (making history as the longest running show on Netflix), Altered Carbon, Condor, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Foundation and Jack Reacher. On the interactive side, Skydance counts The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners. Skydance also just launched a New Media division to reach gamers and non-gamers with story-focused experiences on emerging platforms. In 2017, the studio formed Skydance Animation and is set to produce a slate of original animated programming for both film and television.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Skydance. The Raine Group acted as financial advisor and Paul Hastings LLP acted as legal advisor to CJ ENM.
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