Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, Inc. has acquired indie film distributor Freestyle Releasing, the producer announced Thursday.
ES, an entirely African-American owned company, closed the deal for a high eight figures. All 25 FreeStyle employees will remain under the new ownership.
Freestyle is a multi-platform effort co-founded by Mark Borde and the late Susan Jackson, with theatrical, VOD and digital streaming arms. The company also has a boutique agency representing film and TV producers called Turtle’s Crossing.
“We could not be more excited to have Byron Allen add Freestyle Releasing to his ever-growing media empire,” said Borde. “We’ve had numerous offers over the years, but now we’ve finally found the perfect buyer who shares our vision for distribution expansion on all platforms: theatrical motion pictures, broadcast syndication, cable television, VOD, and digital content. Our future just got much brighter.”
Notable Freestyle releases include the 2014 film “God’s Not Dead,” which grossed $60 million domesticly, and the recent faith-based film “Woodlawn.”
“Mark Borde and Susan Jackson have done a phenomenal job creating and building Freestyle, and we are 110 percent committed to enhancing their excellent legacy,” Allen added. “Freestyle has a great management team, and with their unique output deal with Netflix, the company is very valuable and well-positioned to grab greater theatrical box office market share, and we will maximize this opportunity.”
Longtime Allen pal Quincy Jones applauded the acquisition and its championing of diversity.
“This is an historic moment in the film industry,” Jones said in a statement. “One of the best ways to address diversity in our industry is through finance and distribution, and Byron Allen has now taken that first major step, which is long overdue. I am very proud of Byron, and I hope he adopts me.”
ES produces and distributes 38 television programs worldwide and owns eight 24-hour HD cable networks.