Please wait...
Please wait...

South Korea’s CJ ENM buys Endeavor Content’s scripted business in $775m deal

Ariel Emanuel

South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM has acquired an 80% stake in the scripted division of LA-based studio Endeavor Content for US$775m.

Under the deal, CJ ENM will pay US$665m to Endeavor Content’s Beverly Hills-based parent company Endeavor Group Holdings plus a contribution of US$120m to Endeavor Content’s balance sheet.

The deal to acquire the stake, including management rights, was approved by CJ ENM’s board of directors today. With CJ’s payment and cash contribution, the deal values four-year-old Endeavor Content at US$970m.

Endeavor will retain 20% of the scripted side of the business, in addition to retaining the non-scripted division, as well as certain documentary and film sales and financing consulting services. Endeavor Content’s Graham Taylor and Chris Rice will continue to lead the studio as co-CEOs. The two companies anticipate the deal will close early in the first quarter of 2022.

The deal means Endeavor has fulfilled its February agreement with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) that required it to reduce its stake in its scripted content division to 20%. This came after WGA concerns over talent agencies prioritising their production interests over those of the talent they represent.

Chris Rice

CJ ENM, best known for Oscar winning movie Parasite and unscripted formats such as I Can See Your Voice, said the deal was the largest M&A move for the company and through the acquisition it plans to “solidify its presence in the global market and content distribution channels.”

The Seoul-based firm has previously invested in US studio DreamWorks and acquired Nordic distributor Eccho Rights in 2018. It also acquire a stake in US prodco Skydance Media last year, and is making a US version of Parasite for HBO with that company.

Today’s move will allow CJ to expand its IP portfolio in order to launch its South Korean OTT platform TVing globally, the company said.

“Four years ago, we set out to build a talent-first studio that prioritised greater creative freedom and ownership,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor. “Graham Taylor, Chris Rice and the entire Endeavor Content team delivered on that promise, and this transaction further underscores the enduring value of talent and premium content.”

“We are excited to announce this deal with Endeavor Content, a company that is growing at a remarkable speed in the US and European markets,” added Kang Ho-Sung, CEO of CJ ENM. “We are confident that this deal will create synergy between both companies, globally acknowledged for their production capabilities and list of hit IP properties.”

“We are thrilled for this next chapter as we seek to unlock even greater value for talent and our producer partners,” added Graham Taylor and Chris Rice, Endeavor Content’s co-CEOs, in a joint statement. “With the addition of CJ ENM, our mission to empower creators and foster an inclusive environment that promotes diverse content on a global scale only grows stronger.”


Please wait...