CJ ENM is acquiring a majority stake in Hollywood film studio Endeavor Content, the production company of La La Land. In a board meeting on Friday, the South Korean media giant decided to acquire an 80 percent stake in Endeavor Content for $775 million (approx. 920 billion). This is an aggressive investment move made about 15 days after CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun appeared in public for the first time in 11 years and revealed his plan to invest 10 trillion won in four major future growth engines over the course of three years.
Endeavor Content is a film studio under the global sports and entertainment group Endeavor Group Holdings. The film studio, which backed films like “La La Land” and “Call Me by Your Name,” is famous for its investment in and production of artistic films and entertainment content, such as “Killing Eve,” one of BBC’s most popular shows, and “The Night Manager.” The company has 18 offices around the world.
The acquisition by CJ ENM is viewed by the media industry as a move to secure a production base in the U.S., the center of global pop culture, and strengthen planning and production capabilities as well as securing global content distribution network. Amid fierce competition among platform and media companies for original content production, the acquisition will strengthen the culture and platform sectors, two of the four future growth engines proposed by Chairman Lee, according to experts.
Since its establishment in 2017, Endeavor Content has grown rapidly by distributing a variety of content to major global television channels, such as HBO and BBC and over-the-top (OTT) services, including Netflix. The studio has more than 300 global projects that are currently in development or in planning. Since TVING, CJ ENM’s digital platform service, is about to advance into the global OTT market, the acquisition is expected to create strong synergies down the road. CJ ENM CEO Kang Ho-sung said the acquisition will bring Endeavor Content’s planning and production capabilities and CJ ENM’s know-how in K-content production together to create synergies, adding their ultimate goal is to become a top global studio that encompasses Eastern and Western cultures.
Experts believe the acquisition will strengthen Korea’s culture content business. Movie critic Jeong Ji-wook said the global audiences will be given the opportunity to experience various cultures if a lot of Korean content is introduced in White Hollywood. Bull Pictures CEO Cho Jeong-joon said it will have a positive impact on future works of great Korean directors, such as Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, whose names are already famous in the global market.
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