UPDATED with official announcement: Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Blackstone-backed Candle Media has formally clinched its latest deal — for Faraway Road Productions, the company behind Fauda and Hit & Run.
The acquistion had been anticipated and marks the latest expansion of the company into content in a handful of deals in recent months that’s made it a major player in media M&A. Last week, it agreed to buy a minority stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc., which followed acquisitions of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine (Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere) and Moonbug Entertainment, producer of Netflix runaway kids’ favorite CoComelon.
Founded by Lior Raz & Avi Issacharoff, Faraway Road Productions is set to premiere season four of Fauda later this year on Israel’s YES TV and streaming worldwide on Netflix. Other current development projects include the film Siege of Bethlehem – to be directed by Antoine Fuqua – and a non-scripted spy thriller for Showtime with director Greg Barker.
“Lior and Avi are world-class storytellers who produce exhilarating content that strikes a chord globally with audiences across cultures and languages. They are exactly the type of partners we and Blackstone are looking to invest behind – and we are excited to work with them to further accelerate Faraway Road’s growth trajectory,” said Mayer and Staggs. The are co-chairmen and co-CEOs of Candle Media.
Financial details weren’t disclosed.
The company calls itself “an independent, creator-friendly home for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining brands and franchises that is built for the digital age. By bringing together elite talent operating at the intersection of content, community, and commerce, it helps position leading entertainment businesses for accelerated, sustainable growth in the current market and beyond.”
The deal will likely be announced early in the new year, according to people familiar with the transaction. It will be the duo’s third following Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine (Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere) and Moonbug Entertainment, producer of Netflix runaway kids’ favorite CoComelon. Those deals were worth, respectively, about $900 million and $3 billion. Faraway, founded by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, will be smaller, under the $50 million mark.
Mayer and Staggs, who were longtime colleagues at Walt Disney, have been assembling assets for the streaming era and its exploding demand for premium content.
Faraway Road Prods.’ Raz and Issacharoff renewed an overall television deal with Netflix late last summer and are working with the streamer to develop and produce original programming. Fauda, the acclaimed Israeli political thriller debuted in 2015 and launched on Netflix the following year. In Fauda, which means ‘chaos’ in Arabic and is currently in production on Season 4, a top Israeli agent comes out of retirement to hunt for a Palestinian fighter he thought he’d killed, setting a chaotic chain of events into motion. It’s one of Israel’s most well-known series internationally and with this upcoming season will become the country’s longest running action series.
In Hit & Run, which debuted on Netflix in August, a happily married man’s life is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a mysterious hit and run accident in Tel Aviv.
Bloomberg first reported the upcoming deal.