Kevin Mayer’s investment firm eyes Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios

Red Table Talk

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios is reportedly exploring a sale to Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Blackstone Group-backed venture.

The as-yet-unnamed company, which is backed by US private equity firm Blackstone, acquired Reese Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies producer Hello Sunshine last month in a deal valued at $900m.

If it goes through, a Westbrook deal would mark a second high profile acquisition of a celebrity-backed production company in short order.

Westbrook, which was founded in 2019, recently inked a five-year first-look unscripted deal with Disney-backed National Geographic, which covers the development of all unscripted projects in the areas of adventure, exploration, travel and science for all of National Geographic’s TV platforms and its Disney+ originals.

Netflix also handed a two-season order to Westbrook Studios and Nutopia last month for a new docudrama series about African queens, while the Smith-helmed prodco is also behind Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk and Netflix’s martial arts drama Cobra Kai.

Blackstone reportedly has a ‘warchest’ of $2bn with which to fund further acquisitions, as the battle for content pushes prodco prices to new heights.

Reports earlier this year suggested the company was looking to acquire Ben Silverman’s Propagate Content, among others.

Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, said that the “rapidly growing demand for high-quality content” was one of his company’s “highest-conviction investment themes.”

News of the sales talks was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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