The studio division of South Korean pay TV broadcaster JTBC has acquired Wiip, the independent production firm behind recent HBO series Mare Of Easttown.
US-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has sold its majority stake in the company to JTBC Studios and will now move to a minority stake, while private equity firm Atwater Capital is exiting the partnership and selling its stake as part of the deal.
The agreement is the first sale of an agency-backed studio after CAA and the other agencies agreed to sell off majority interests in their content divisions to end the long standoff with the Writers Guild Of America.
JTBC’s US entrance
The deal marks JTBC Studios’ entry into the US market, where it plans to strike co-production deals and expand distribution channels. The company already produces series including The World Of The Married, a Korean remake of BBC series Doctor Foster, as well as the drama Sky Castle.
Wiip, meanwhile, was formed in 2018 by one-time ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee and former CAA exec Matteo Perale.
As well as Mare Of Easttown, the company is behind shows including Dickinson for Apple TV+, The White House Plumbers for HBO, Pistol for FX and Toast Of Tinseltown for the BBC.
Lee, who will remain in charge of Wiip, added: “We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our partners at JTBC Studios recognise the tremendous creativity coming out of Wiip and significantly increase their investment.
“We look forward to doing more business together in the US, Korea and the rest of the world to attract the highest level of talent together.”
Korea’s expanded reach
The acquisition is the latest move for a Korean company looking to extend its global reach. Yesterday, CJ ENM unveiled plans to invest more than ₩5tn ($4.5bn) in content creation over the next five years in a bid to expand its global presence, having previously bought Scandinavian sales firm Eccho Rights.
In March, streaming service Wavve, which was launched by local broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS with the backing of SK Telecom, announced that it is planning to spend almost $900m on new content and establish a studio for originals, as part of a strategy to increase its global activities.