CJ ENM signs deal to purchase Endeavor content – The Hollywood Reporter

Endeavor has reached a deal to sell a controlling stake in its Endeavor Content studio to South Korean media giant CJ ENM, the company behind films like Parasite and Snowdrops, for $ 775 million.

The deal values ​​the company at $ 850 million. Endeavor will retain a 20% stake in Endeavor Content and will also retain its film and unscripted film sales divisions. (The the Wall Street newspaper first reported news Thursday.)

In an interview with THR in August, Endeavor chairman Mark Shapiro said “it’s bittersweet to sell 80 percent of this business,” noting that the studio has “hundreds of shows” in development or in production. Endeavor content projects included Once upon a time … in Hollywood, and Kill Eve, among others.

However, the owner of WME and UFC had little choice in the matter, having agreed to divest at least 80% of his stake under a deal struck with the Writers Guild of America earlier this year. The deal allowed WME to represent writer clients again, but demanded that the company relinquish control of its studio and phase out packaging.

WME is not the only agency to divest the assets of the studio. CAA sold a controlling stake in its studio, Wiip, to another South Korean entertainment giant, JTBC, in June. Wiip produced HBO Easttown mare and Apple TV + Dickinson, among other projects. As with Endeavor, the CAA was bound by an agreement it signed with the WGA.

Endeavor Content was one of the drivers of the company’s strong third quarter results, with increased TV show deliveries helping the company to turn a profit.

The planned sale by Endeavor, which is led by CEO Ari Emanuel, also comes just six months after the company’s IPO in an IPO, with a strong focus on its own sports activities. , such as the UFC, and on its live events division.

“Four years ago, we set out to create a talent-driven studio that prioritized greater creative freedom and greater ownership,” said Emanuel. “Graham Taylor, Chris Rice and the entire Endeavor Content team have delivered on their promise, and this transaction further underscores the enduring value of talent and premium content.

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with Endeavor Content, a company that is growing at remarkable speed in the US and European markets,” said Kang Ho-Sung, CEO of CJ ENM. “We are convinced that this agreement will create synergy between the two companies, recognized worldwide for their production capacities and their list of successful IP properties. “

And the CEO of CJ ENM pointed out, “Ultimately, CJ ENM strives to become a major global studio that encompasses content that attracts a global audience -… we will continue to expand our presence in the global market. “

While Endeavor has been forced to sell Endeavor Content, the sale also comes amid mergers and acquisitions in the media and entertainment industry.

Reese Witherspoon sold a controlling stake in Hello Sunshine to a holding company founded by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. Staggs and Mayer also bought the company behind the children’s programming mainstay. Cocomelon, and also had discussions about buying Westbrook Studios, the company founded by Will Smith. Meanwhile, SpringHill, the content company founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, discussed a minority investment from RedBird Capital.

“We’ve had a few presentations and are distributing books to qualified buyers,” Shapiro said of Endeavor Content, noting that Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine had sold a controlling stake that valued the company at $ 900 million.

CJ ENM, meanwhile, has made inroads in Hollywood, with Vice President Miky Lee leading that charge. Lee said THR last year that the company embarked on a project to produce a handful of English films or series per year. Acquiring Endeavor content is anything but certain to energize this effort.

November 19 12:25 am Updated with confirmation of agreement.

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