Skydance Media has secured a $275 million strategic investment from RedBird Capital Partners and CJ Entertainment and Merchandising. The company said the equity infusion raises its valuation to $2.3 billion. The news comes 48 hours after “Parasite,” the South Korean thriller that CJ financed, picked up a best picture Oscar. CJ is hoping that the pact will help it expand into the U.S. market and will strengthen its ties to Hollywood.
Skydance is overseen by David Ellison, the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and the brother of Annapurna founder Megan Ellison. The company has produced hits such as “World War Z,” “True Grit” and “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” but struck out with last fall’s “Gemini Man” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Its upcoming films include “Top Gun: Maverick,” a long-gestating sequel to “Top Gun” that puts Tom Cruise back in the cockpit, and “Without Remorse,” a thriller starring Michael B. Jordan. Skydance’s current investor base, which includes the Ellison family and Tencent Holdings, was also included in the investment round.
RedBird Capital led the investment round. The venture capital firm has invested in several sectors, such as media and energy. Its portfolio includes YES Network, On Location Experiences and Lambda Energy Resources.
CJ is a sprawling South Korean conglomerate that has businesses in everything from food service to biotechnology. Its holdings include CJ ENM, its entertainment and retail arm, and Studio Dragon, a production, marketing and distribution company. The goal is for the companies to collaborate with Skydance to tap the studios’ libraries of films, shows, music, live entertainment, and games to create content that appeals to global audiences. The global success of “Parasite,” which grossed $166 million worldwide, demonstrates the popular appeal of Korean stories.
“We are honored to partner with RedBird Capital and CJ ENM. These are sophisticated strategic partners who believe in our creative vision and our ambitious strategy to build the studio of the future,” said Ellison and Skydance Media president and COO Jesse Sisgold, in a joint statement.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial adviser and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal adviser to Skydance. The Raine Group acted as financial adviser and Paul Hastings LLP acted as legal adviser to CJ ENM.