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China’s Tencent Invests in David Ellison’s Skydance

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings has made an investment in David Ellison’s Skydance Media as part of a strategic partnership.

According to an industry source, the investment is for less than 10% of Skydance.

The alliance will give Skydance access to Tencent’s expertise in Asia and gaming to further build out its presence in these markets, and allow Tencent to co-finance Skydance films, as well as to market, distribute, and merchandise in China. The partnership also supports collaboration in television, and interactive and virtual reality.

Specific projects were not listed as co-productions in Thursday’s announcement.

Skydance was founded by Ellison in 2010 and has produced and financed 15 films, which have cumulatively grossed nearly $5 billion at the worldwide box office, including three “Star Trek” movies and a pair of “Mission: Impossible” titles. Skydance TV launched in 2013 and has created eight series to date. The company has grown from 15 employees to more than 150 in the past four years.

“We are thrilled and honored to be entering into a strategic partnership with Tencent, whose global reach and position within the Chinese marketplace is truly unmatched,” Ellison said. “Skydance has experienced a tremendous amount of growth since our inception in 2010, and we’re excited that our next phase of expansion will be in partnership with a company that shares our vision for where entertainment is heading.”

Tencent chief strategy officer James Mitchell said, “Skydance is nurturing successful entertainment franchises, especially in the action and science fiction genres, which are particularly popular in China. We believe this partnership will support Skydance’s expansion internationally, across media and into television production, and provide Tencent with attractive content that we can share with China consumers.”

Ellison is the son of Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison and the brother of Annapurna Pictures chief Megan Ellison.

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