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STX to Remain Independent Studio as Deal With Najafi Companies Closes

Robert Simonds will serve as STX chairman and Noah Fogelson, currently the president, will become the new CEO

STX Entertainment will remain an independent film studio as the private investment firm The Najafi Companies has now closed the deal to acquire Robert Simonds’ studio from Eros International, the companies announced Friday.

Simonds will serve as STX chairman and Noah Fogelson, currently the president, will become the new CEO.

Adam Fogelson will continue to serve as chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Andrew Warren will continue as CFO, and John Friedberg will continue overseeing the international and acquisitions divisions for the motion picture group out of the company’s London office. 

The studio behind “Bad Moms,” “Hustlers” and “Greenland” was sold to The Najafi Companies last December in a $173 million deal. However, it included a 45-day “go-shop” period in which Lionsgate explored a last minute acquisition of its own of STX. As previously reported by TheWrap, that deal fell through with an offer that was said to be below the $173 million offered by Najafi.

“At a time when the demand for global content has never been greater, we are very excited about this rare opportunity to acquire STX Entertainment, one of the only remaining independent studios. As investors, we are long-term minded, and we believe in the power of storytelling and fostering a studio that is friendly to storytellers,” Jahm Najafi, founder and CEO of The Najafi Companies, said in a statement. “We have the utmost respect for this +100-year-old ecosystem, and we look forward to supporting this partnership and the ways modern entertainment studios are evolving in the future.”  

The closing of this deal signifies STX’s position of leadership and its hopeful future within the film and television industry,” Robert Simonds, chairman of STX, said in a statement. “We are excited to work alongside this highly respected investment company and are thankful for their continued support as we expand our library of star-driven content. We have solidified our international reputation and notable ambitions thus far, and we look forward to continually proving ourselves with each project we push forward.”  

“In a relatively short amount of time, STX has helped create and distribute over 70 movies, many with stars and filmmakers who have made multiple projects with us,” Noah Fogelson, STX CEO “From ‘The Gift,’ ‘Bad Moms’ and ‘Hustlers, to ‘The Upside,’ ‘Molly’s Game,’ ‘Greenland’ and upcoming ‘Operation Fortune,’ the studio has, despite many headwinds, cemented a place in the industry. We’re thrilled that an investor as savvy as Jahm (Najafi) and The Najafi Companies see the value of the platform today, and also what’s possible tomorrow.” 

Recently STX was behind films such as “The Gentlemen” and “Queenpins,” as well as the TV series “FBoy Island.” Upcoming on their slate are “Ferrari,” a biopic starring Adam Driver and directed by Michael Mann, “Muscle” starring Vin Diesel, and “Greenland 2: Migration” with Gerard Butler. STX is also producing several direct-to-platform titles, including “Night Wolf” with Kevin Hart, “I Slept With Joey Ramone,” starring Pete Davidson, and “My Spy 2” with Dave Bautista.

The Najafi Companies is a private investment firm with significant holdings in consumer brands, media, ecommerce, sports and technology.

AS Birch Grove LP and 777 Partners provided financing.

Deadline first reported the news.

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