CAA has sold a majority stake in Wiip, the producer behind HBO’s Mare of Easttown and Apple’s Dickinson, to Korean company JTBC Studios. It marks the first sale of an agency-backed studio after CAA and the other agencies agreed to end their standoff with the WGA and sell a majority interest in their content divisions.
CAA, which was previously the majority owner of wiip, will remain a minority shareholder in the Paul Lee-led company.
Deadline understands that CAA had shopped the stake around to a number of traditional U.S studios. It comes as others such as Endeavor are also set to sell an 80% stake in Endeavor Content following the WGA deal.
Private equity company Atwater Capital, which took a stake in wiip in 2020, will also sell its stake.
Wiip was founded in 2018 by former ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee and Matteo Perale, formerly head of strategy and corporate development at CAA.
In addition to Mare of Eastown and Dickinson, wiip projects include The White House Plumbers starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux for HBO, Adam McKay’s The Uninhabitable Earth for HBO Max, Danny Boyle’s Pistol for FX, Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty for Amazon Studios and Quibi comedy Dummy starring Anna Kendrick as well as Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry’s Toast of Tinseltown for the BBC.
JTBC is best known in Korea as a pay-TV network and studio, which produces series including The World of the Married, a remake of BBC drama Doctor Foster, and Sky Castle. The deal marks its entry into the U.S. market.
Moelis & Company (financial) and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (legal) advised wiip. Lee & Ko (legal), Latham & Watkins (legal) and KPMG (financial) advised JTBC Studios. Cole Schotz (legal) advised Atwater.
Paul Lee, CEO of wiip, said, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our partners at JTBC Studios recognize the tremendous creativity coming out of wiip and significantly increase their investment. We look forward to doing more business together in the US, Korea and the rest of the world to attract the highest level of talent together.”
“The marketplace has embraced wiip’s unique position as an independent entertainment company that gives artists more control and ownership of their content, and a quicker path to production and distribution,” added CAA President Jim Burtson. “With exceptional partners JTBC Studios investing new capital and strategic insight, we’re more excited than ever to continue to support Paul and wiip as they create the next generation of premium content for buyers worldwide.”
Si Kyoo Kim, CEO of JTBC Studios, said, “The U.S. market is the heartland of the content business. We expect this partnership to bring a significant opportunity for JTBC Studios to make our first step into this dynamic market, for which we have yearned for a long time. We believe that this partnership between outstanding creative talents at JTBC Studios and wiip will deliver an unprecedented experience for a global audience.”
Vania Schlogel, Founder and Managing Partner at Atwater Capital and a member of wiip’s advisory board, said, “wiip is an outstanding storyteller whose productions are rightly being lauded around the world. With this investment from JTBC Studios, we are excited to witness two leaders in IP development and content production in the East and the West come together to cross-pollinate globally relevant content.”