Korea’s CJ ENM Bets Huge on Amusement With Endeavor Material Deal

South Korean entertainment conglomerate CJ ENM is making a nearly $1 billion guess to increase into a greater participant in the worldwide articles company by getting an 80% stake in Endeavor Content material, the output entity that Endeavor was compelled to divest immediately after dropping a showdown with the Writers Guild of America.

CJ ENM described the deal as the largest M&A transaction in its 26-12 months heritage. The arrangement values the majority desire in Endeavor Written content at $775 million. Endeavor will get $655 million, although Endeavor Written content will acquire a $120 million influx of money to gasoline the dozens of Tv programs and videos that the unit has in numerous stages of manufacturing.

The deal has an organization benefit of $850 million. Endeavor Content in its entirety is valued in the offer at $970 million, right after the $120 million capital inflow. Endeavor was represented in the transaction by Raine Team.

CJ ENM is publicly traded on the Korean Trade. Shares are up 26% for the yr to date. The business is aspect of the more substantial CJ Group, led by chairman Jay Lee and his sister, vice chairman Miky Lee, due to the fact 1994. CJ was an early investor in DreamWorks Images, which authorized Miky Lee to develop critical associations in Hollywood.

“We are energized to announce this offer with Endeavor Content material, a organization that is increasing at a amazing speed in the US and European marketplaces,” said Kang Ho-Sung, CEO, CJ ENM. “We are confident that this deal will make synergy in between the two businesses, globally acknowledged for their creation capabilities and listing of hit IP houses. At the finish of the day, CJ ENM strives to become a major world studio that encompasses written content that appeals to a world viewers – like this offer with Endeavor Content, we will carry on to extend our presence in the worldwide current market.”

Endeavor Content material, headed by WME veterans Chris Rice and Graham Taylor, has about 200 full-time workforce. The prepare is for these two to proceed to run the company from its Los Angeles base. The co-CEOs in a joint statement hailed the new partnership as bolstering “our mission to empower creators and foster an inclusive environment that encourages various information on a world wide scale.”

Endeavor Articles was fashioned in 2017 to rev up the written content production facet of Endeavor, but the move aided spark a two-calendar year battle with the Writers Guild of The united states in excess of conflict of curiosity considerations simply because the business also owns Hollywood’s greatest expertise agency, WME. In January, Endeavor attained a settlement with the WGA that called for it to divest the greater part of its fascination in the scripted movie and Television operations of Endeavor Content, which has co-developed this sort of collection as BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” AMC’s “The Night time Manager,” Hulu’s “Normal People” and “Nine Best Strangers.”

“Four yrs back, we established out to make a talent-initial studio that prioritized higher imaginative liberty and ownership,” remarked Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor. “Graham Taylor, Chris Rice and the total Endeavor Material group sent on that promise, and this transaction additional underscores the enduring benefit of expertise and top quality content material. Possessing identified Miky Lee for much more than 25 many years, I’m self-assured that CJ ENM will be outstanding stewards of the studio, accelerating and amplifying its jobs on a international stage.”

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CJ ENM is a quickly-growing business in South Korea’s increasing amusement sector. The conglomerate’s extreme emphasis on expanding its articles creation capabilities has been a single of the major attracts for Endeavor. CJ ENM’s leisure division produces Television set exhibits and videos, like Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 Oscar winner “Parasite.” It has a tunes wing that has helped unfold K-pop appears further than Korea’s borders, as perfectly as carrying out arts and live event operations. The organization also runs a enormous ecommerce platform CJ OnStyle.

Endeavor will maintain on to the film gross sales, movie advisory and unscripted content operations of Endeavor material. Endeavor’s deal with the WGA bars WME from getting aligned with a guardian organization that owns far more than 20% of a output-distribution procedure. But it does not bar Endeavor from manufacturing assignments that really do not require WGA users.

Resources near to the problem stated Endeavor had no lack of desire in the auction system that was taken care of by Raine Group. Raine served as financial advisor to Endeavor in the deal though Latham & Watkins was authorized advisor. For CJ ENM, J.P. Morgan was fiscal advisor and O’Melveny & Myers were being authorized eagles.

A quantity of media-targeted private fairness groups lined up. But it is comprehended that Apollo World Management and Blackstone did not wind up distributing bids even even though both financial commitment giants have have been energetic in searching for roll-up opportunities for disparate media and enjoyment manufacturers.

(Pictured: CJ ENM CEO Kang Ho-Sung)