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Peter Chernin’s North Road buys Turkey’s Karga Seven in first major int’l deal

English-language period docu-drama Rise of Empires: Ottoman

The North Road Company, the well-capitalised studio launched last year by Peter Chernin, has acquired Turkish production company Karga Seven Pictures, marking its first major international acquisition.

Under the deal, Karga Seven’s founders Sarah Wetherbee, Emre Sahin and Kelly McPherson will remain in leadership roles. Wetherbee and Sahin will serve as global co-CEOs while McPherson is head of English-language content.

The company, which is based in Istanbul and LA, has also hired Ömer Müjdat Özgüner as its CEO for Turkey.

Peter Chernin

The deal gives Chernin’s company access to the Turkish market, which is now among the largest in the world for content exports. North Road said the leadership team will be supported with strategic resources and infrastructure that will allow it to continue to grow. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The transaction was led by North Road’s London-based president Jan Frouman, who oversees the company’s strategic and international growth. Both Sahin and Wetherbee will report to Frouman, who works alongside president of international film and TV Kristin Jones.

Previously, Karga Seven was majority-owned by Red Arrow Studios, which sold its US business to North Road last summer for around US$200m. That deal only included the US assets and this latest transaction is separate from it.

Karga Seven made its name as a producer of successful factual content before branching into scripted programming, including the English-language period docu-drama Rise of Empires: Ottoman and the Turkish-language time travel drama Midnight at the Pera Palace. The company also produces some of Turkey’s most-watched dramas, including Hekimoglu, a local adaptation of US series House.

Its upcoming slate includes a Morocco-based docu-drama for Netflix, which is currently in post-production, and a drama for Hulu based on a New York Times article about mind control.

Three brands sit under the North Road umbrella: Chernin Entertainment, a scripted film and TV business led by Jenno Topping; Red Arrow Studios’ US business; and non-scripted studio Words + Pictures.

News of the deal comes three weeks after North Road acquired a minority stake in former NFL star Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions.

“Given its sheer volume of globally relevant and high-quality content, Turkey is a perfect fit with North Road’s broader international strategy, and the addition Karga Seven to our studio is a significant accomplishment,” said Chernin, North Road’s chairman and CEO.

“In a short time, Sarah, Emre and Kelly have established Karga Seven as the most compelling premium player in the region, and Jan, the team and I are incredibly excited about our partnership and collective plans to aggressively expand the business.”

Sahin added: “Producing both in Turkey and internationally, our passion has always been finding ways to bridge our two worlds. From the types of stories we are drawn to, to discovering new regional talent with a fresh point of view, to creating a global creative hub in the region, there is and always has been incredible potential in Turkey.

“We couldn’t be happier to join the North Road team and work with Peter, Jan and their impressive group. They instantly recognised the vision and saw the potential of this partnership. With their support and global expertise, we are beyond excited to embark on this next chapter together.”


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