Sidney Kimmel Entertainment Merges With Ivanhoe Pictures

Hell or High Water trailer
Courtesy of CBS Films

Hell or High Water” producer Sidney Kimmel Entertainment has merged with Hong Kong-based Ivanhoe Pictures to form SK Global.

SKE Chairman and CEO Sidney Kimmel and Ivanhoe Pictures Chairman Robert Friedland will be co-chairmen. They said in the announcement Wednesday that the new entity will pursue international opportunities to produce and finance film and television content, which will be released under their separate labels.

Kimmel, 88, made his fortune in the apparel business. He has been involved with significant movies going back “9 ½ Weeks,” “The Kite Runner,” “United 93,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Adventureland,” “The Age of Adaline” and “In the Bedroom,” which scored five Academy Award nominations.

Kimmel was a producer on “Hell or High Water,” which received a Best Picture Oscar nomination, a supporting actor nomination for Jeff Bridges, an original screenplay nod for Taylor Sheridan and an editing nomination.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Ivanhoe began collaborating in 2015 on a slate of local-language productions after John Penotti, co-founder of Ivanhoe Pictures, introduced the two chairmen in 2015.

Kimmel and Friedland also announced that China Cultural and Entertainment Fund, a China-focused private equity fund and prominent investment management company, is taking a “substantial” equity position in SK Global. CCEF Chairwoman Yang Liu and Managing Director Alick Dong will oversee the investment, and provide strategic advice to SK Global as the new venture expands production, distribution and financing apparatus throughout Asia.

Dong will join Kimmel, Friedland and Penotti on the SK Global Board of Directors. Longtime Kimmel advisor Matthew Kamens and Ivanhoe Pictures Vice Chairman Gary Gartner also will join the board.

Kimmel, 88, made his fortune in the apparel business. He has been involved with significant movies going back “9 ½ Weeks,” “The Kite Runner,” “United 93,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Adventureland,” “The Age of Adaline” and “In the Bedroom,” which scored five Academy Award nominations.

The SK Global company will control the combined libraries of both companies, consisting of more than 75 feature films. It said Wednesday that several films in the library are being considered for local-language film and television remake opportunities around the world.

“Our recent collaborations have been immensely successful. Putting our respective operations under a larger tent has been an organic process,” said Kimmel and Friedland.

“A unified SK Global gives us the strengthened operations and assets to grow our individual and collective businesses, and to expand the scope and creation of our international content. Initially, we have focused on the United States and Asian markets, but soon we will announce projects in Europe and Latin America where we are actively developing and financing a diverse slate of film and TV projects that will be the subject of forthcoming announcements.”

They also said Liu will give the merged company an advantage in Asia:  “Ms. Yang Liu and her team’s extensive financial and strategic operations in China and Greater Asia afford our new venture a crucial advantage in building new associations and partnerships throughout Asia. We are proud to welcome them to our team.”

The SK Global merger agreement was negotiated by Ivanhoe’s Gary Gartner, Michael Hogan and Brian Kornreich, and law firm Gibson Dunn. CCEF was represented by Alick Dong and law firm Loeb and Loeb. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment was represented in the transaction by law firm Cozen O’Connor and its Chief Financial Officer, Richard Lewis.

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