Joe and Anthony Russo’s production company AGBO has received a $400 million investment stake from Nexon Co., a Tokyo-listed video game company, valuing AGBO at $1.1 billion.
Nexon is known for its online games and virtual worlds and is behind its franchise “Dungeon & Fighter” that’s wildly popular in China and Korea. Nexon’s investment will support AGBO’s development, production and ownership of tentpole films and shows, as well as games, but it will also allow Nexon to speed up and expand its existing IP under the agreement. And if requested by AGBO, Nexon is also committing an additional $100 million in the first half of 2022.
Nexon will now take a 38% stake in AGBO and become the largest individual shareholder in the company, and Nick van Dyk, the gaming company’s president of its film and television division, will also be added to AGBO’s board of directors, as will Nexon Film and TV SVP Tim Connors. They join the Russo Brothers and AGBO CEO Jason Bergsman on the company’s board.
It’s a major investment from a purely gaming company into the film and TV space and is the latest example of an Asian company making headway into the American entertainment space. Nexon, with this investment, is betting on the continued merging of gaming, movies and TV in the coming years.
“AGBO is driven by creatives who aspire to work at the universe scale. AGBO’s partnership with Nexon represents a significant juncture for entertainment, furthering the convergence of franchise filmmaking and games with a global reach,” the Russo brothers said in a statement. “Our collaboration is based on our shared vision of the future of storytelling and utilizes the unique talents of both companies.”
“Today’s announcement strengthens AGBO’s core strategy of embracing and incubating IP that engages audiences on all screens through both linear and interactive narratives,”Bergsman said. “The capital from this investment, complemented by access to Nexon’s best-in-class gaming capabilities, will provide AGBO with new resources to innovate and pursue growth as a uniquely creator-led, independent entertainment company.”
“This investment provides a significant accelerant to our founding mission at AGBO — to delight audiences worldwide with ambitious stories told across all forms of media,” Mike Larocca, AGBO co-founder, added.
“Film and television have been proven to drive higher engagement and longevity for game franchises, and we are now partnered with the best creators and adapters of franchise IP in film and television,” Nick van Dyk, president of Nexon film and television and chief strategy officer of Nexon, said. “We are thrilled to work with AGBO to design universes that, from the outset, are intended to coexist across games, film, TV, merchandising, and other experiences.”
Next up for AGBO is making a sequel to its Netflix action hit “Extraction,” starring Chris Hemsworth, and they’re also behind another Netflix film directed by the Russos called “The Grey Man” that will be a thriller starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. AGBO is also working on “The Electric State,” a new universe play for NBCUniversal, with a film written by Markus and McFeely and directed by the Russo brothers, as well as a companion TV series created by Markus and McFeely. They also have the TV universe “Citadel” for Amazon Prime, starring Priyanka Chopra and Richard Madden.
PJT Partners served as financial advisor to AGBO and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP served as legal counsel to AGBO. Loeb and Loeb served as legal counsel to Nexon.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.