CJ ENM has said Endeavor Content will be “the key driving force” for the South Korean media giant’s expansion globally, following the completion of its $785m deal for the US-based operation.
The acquisition, first revealed in November, will see CJ ENM rapidly scale its global scripted presence by taking an 80% stake in the LA-based firm.
The agreement with the prodco’s US-based owner, Endeavor Group Holding, will see the Seoul-based firm invest $775m, including a $120m contribution to Endeavor Content, which launched in 2017. The deal values the company at close to $970m.
Endeavor has retained 20% of the scripted portion of Endeavor Content, and has retained the non-scripted portion of the business, as well as certain documentary and film sales and financing consulting services. Endeavor Content’s Graham Taylor and Chris Rice will continue as co-CEOs.
CJ ENM said the acquisition would provide access to Endeavor Content’s portfolio and “a robust global distribution network, thus strengthening its global content production and multi-studio structure.”
Endeavor Content has more than 40 movies and series set to be produced by 2023, with a slate that includes Ben Stiller’s Severance and Nicole Kidman’s Roar for Apple TV+, Wolf Like Me for Peacock in the US and Oz streamer Stan, Michael Mann’s Tokyo Vice for HBO Max, and Amy Schumer’s Life & Beth for Hulu.
Its sales arm has been behind shows ranging from Killing Eve to Nine Perfect Strangers, while upcoming film projects include The Lost Daughter for Netflix, and Michael Bay’s theatrical release Ambulance.
Kang Ho-Sung, CEO at CJ ENM, said: “Endeavor Content will be the key driving force for CJ ENM’s global growth.
“CJ ENM plans to produce and distribute its own content for viewers all around the world with Endeavor Content, now part of the multi-studio, as the global basecamp.”
Content & context
The sale comes six months since Endeavor agreed to divest 80% of its scripted interests to settle its long-running dispute with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which was concerned that the growing focus on production was not in the best interests of talent on its books.
It also marks a watershed moment for CJ ENM, which had previously dabbled in US firms with investments in Skydance Media and DreamWorks, the latter upon its move into the content business 26 years ago.
It has made bigger moves more recently, including buying Nordic distributor Eccho Rights, amid a trend of South Korean companies investing in US content firms.
CJ ENM has previously said it will leverage Endeavor’s distribution channels and use the acquired company’s original IP portfolio to support the global roll-out of its OTT platform, TVING. Last summer, the Korean firm said it would invest more than ₩5tn ($4.5bn) in content creation over the next five years to fuel global growth.
The sale follows a busy four years since Endeavor Content formally launched. It inked a multi-year deal with CJ ENM-backed South Korean prodco Bon Factory in 2021 to develop TV projects in both English and Korean languages, and more recently acquired veteran producer Brad Weston’s Makeready.
It has also partnered with former eOne exec John Morayniss to launch new Toronto-based outfit Blink Studios and took a minority stake in The Ink Factory, the London and LA-based production firm behind The Night Manager. Other deals include a development pact to adapt British author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels for TV.