David Ellison’s Skydance Media has landed a $275 million investment from RedBird Capital Parters and the company behind Oscar-winning film Parasite, CJ Entertainment and Merchandising.
The investment and partnership is expected to help expand the “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” and “Top Gun: Maverick” studio’s global reach across its film, TV, animation and interactive platforms. Skydance’s current investor base, including the Ellison family and Tencent Holdings Ltd., also participated in the investment round.
Ellison founded the production studio in 2010 with the mission to produce event-level entertainment for global audiences. Ellison’s sister Megan Ellison founded and runs indie studio Annapurna Pictures.
“We are honored to partner with RedBird Capital and CJ ENM. These are sophisticated strategic partners who believe in our creative vision and our ambitious strategy to build the studio of the future,” Ellison said in a statement “Their partnership will help propel us to another decade of exponential growth as we look to shape the future of where entertainment is heading.”
Ellison’s company last year produced the under performing “Gemini Man” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” The studio will likely be hoping to turn some fortunes around with this year’s anticipated block buster “Top Gun: Maverick” and the upcoming Michael B. Jordan thriller “Without Remorse.”
RedBird Capital and CJ Entertainment’s equity investment solidifies a strategic partnership with Skydance that the company hopes will support Skydance’s growth trajectory. RedBird Capital led the investment round and brings to Skydance its expertise in scaling owner-operated companies with a focus on growing value over time. Through this partnership with leading entertainment company CJ Entertainment and its Studio Dragon subsidiary, Skydance will collaborate across both studios’ vast libraries to create compelling stories that appeal to a global audience in addition to strengthening its presence within the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Skydance Media along with RedBird Capital, Tencent and the Ellison family,” CJ Entertainment CEO Min Heoi Heo said in a statement. “CJ is singularly focused on strengthening borderless content to attract global audiences. With partners who share our vision, together we will create exceptional content to define the next chapter of the entertainment industry.”
In the 10 years since Ellison founded Skydance, the studio has produced some of the biggest action-adventure movies and racked up more than $5.8 billion in worldwide box office to date. In addition to its film slate, Skydance’s TV slate includes six series across various networks, platforms and streamers, including Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” and “Altered Carbon,” as well as “Condor,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” and “Jack Reacher.”
In 2017, the Company formed Skydance Animation and is set to produce a slate of original animated programming for both film and TV.
“As the media entertainment landscape continues to evolve against the backdrop of a transformational distribution ecosystem, I can’t think of a more compelling pure play content company than Skydance Media,” RedBird Capital founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale said in a statement “Under David’s leadership and strategic vision, Skydance has established a diversified content creation platform that prioritizes world class production and original content generation with financial discipline and a focus on building equity value for the long term. We look forward to working with CJ ENM, Tencent and the Ellison family to help Skydance reach its tremendous potential.”
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Skydance. The Raine Group acted as financial advisor and Paul Hastings LLP acted as legal advisor to CJ Entertainment.