CJ ENM, an entertainment company originated from Korea, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire an 80% stake of the scripted business of US-based global premium content studio Endeavor Content from its parent company Endeavor Group Holdings for US$775 million in total proceeds at an enterprise valuation of US$850 million, including US$655 million to Endeavor and a contribution of US$120 million of capital to Endeavor Content’s balance sheet (implying a post-money equity valuation of US$970 million).
The deal to acquire the 80% stake, including management rights, was approved by CJ ENM’s board of directors on November 19, 2021. Endeavor will retain 20% of the scripted portion of the business, in addition to retaining the non-scripted portion of the business, 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.
This acquisition is the largest M&A for CJ ENM, which first invested in DreamWorks and jumped into the content business 26 years ago. Through acquisition of Endeavor Content, CJ ENM plans to solidify its presence in the global market and content distribution channels. CJ ENM will also be able to expand its original IP collection to incorporate that of Endeavor Content’s.
The library and portfolio that will hold a wide range of IPs from all over the world will support CJ ENM’s plan to launch its OTT platform, TVING, globally. CJ ENM will also be able to further accelerate its penetration into the global content market by making full use of Endeavor Content’s extensive network across various distribution channels. This will create a full value chain for CJ ENM to distribute its top-notch dramas, movies, and entertainment programs to the world.
“Four years ago, we set out to build a talent-first studio that prioritized greater creative freedom and ownership. 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. Having known Miky Lee for more than 25 years, I’m confident that CJ ENM will be excellent stewards of the studio, accelerating and amplifying its projects on a global stage,” remarked Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor.
“We are excited to announce this deal with Endeavor Content, a company that is growing at a remarkable speed in the United States and European markets. We are confident that this deal will create synergy between both companies, globally acknowledged for their production capabilities and list of hit IP properties. At the end of the day, CJ ENM strives to become a major global studio that encompasses content that appeals to a global audience – like this deal with Endeavor Content, we will continue to expand our presence in the global market,” said Kang Ho-Sung, CEO of CJ ENM.
“We are thrilled for this next chapter as we seek to unlock even greater value for talent and our producer partners. 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,” concluded Graham Taylor and Chris Rice, Endeavor Content’s co-CEOs, in a joint statement.