David Ellison’s Skydance has secured a $400 million investment to expand its operations, particularly its animation, sports and interactive ambitions, pushing the company’s valuation above $4 billion.
The investment came from investment firm KKR and was joined by the Ellison Family (who remain the company’s majority shareholders), as well as other existing backers supporting the “Top Gun: Maverick” studio. Existing investors RedBird Capital Partners and Tencent also participated in the fundraising.
“The investment from KKR creates a powerful strategic partnership with a firm at the forefront of the evolution of technology and interactive entertainment, all of which are key propellers in the next phase of Skydance’s growth,” CEO David Ellison said in a statement. “Having KKR in our corner as thought partners and engaged collaborators will help us to execute on the many opportunities we see in front of us. We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our long-term strategic investors – RedBird, who has championed our sports strategy, as well as Tencent and CJ ENM, who have each helped to drive our global growth and diversification.”
“We are delighted to invest behind Skydance, David Ellison and the impressive, differentiated team
of creative and entrepreneurial talent he has assembled,” Jenny Box, partner and co-head of KKR’s Strategic Investments Group, said.
“Skydance has already created a diverse collection of premium content, across multiple formats, and we are only in the early stages of what they can accomplish. We look forward supporting the Skydance team as they continue to build their business across TV, film, animation, gaming and sports and tell compelling stories in new and innovative ways,” Ted Oberwager, Partner, who leads the gaming, entertainment, media and sports verticals within KKR’s Americas Private Equity business, added.
KKR is investing in Skydance through funds and accounts managed by its Strategic Investments Group. Across its strategies, KKR has deep experience investing in category leaders across media, entertainment and sports businesses, including Axel Springer, ByteDance, Chord Music Partners, Epic Games, FanDuel Group, Leonine Studios, Mediawan, OverDrive, PlayOn! Sports, RBmedia and UFC.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal adviser to Skydance. Moelis & Company acted as financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal advisor to KKR.