‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Studio SK Global Entertainment Sells Majority Stake to Centricus (EXCLUSIVE)

Centricus has acquired a majority stake in SK Global Entertainment, the independent film and television production and finance company behind “Crazy Rich Asians.”

The pact is in in the low to mid nine figures, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction. The deal will provide SK Global with capital to grow its company, potentially through mergers and acquisitions, as well as provide more financing to expand its slate of content. The company plans to double its output, producing four to five movies annually and at least five series. Earlier this year, SK Global acquired Critical Content, a production company focused on unscripted television series such as MTV’s “Catfish” and Netflix’s “Get Organized With the Home Edit.”

As part of the deal, Charlie Corwin, currently the co-chief executive officer, will now become the sole CEO and will oversee the company, including its corporate expansion and operations. John Penotti, who had been CEO with Corwin, will now become chief creative officer, focusing on the global film and TV slates of SK Global. Sidney Kimmel, founder of SK Global, will continue in his role as chairman and Matt Aragachi will continue as the company’s chief financial officer.

“With the rapid expansion of platforms and theatrical releases around the world, this is a unique time of great opportunity for independence at scale. We look forward to working with the Centricus team, who share our vision for a truly global independent studio,” said Corwin. 

“Our strategy has been to invest in the rights to culturally relevant stories such as Kevin Kwan’s ‘Sex and Vanity,’ ‘Thai Cave Rescue’ and ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ and then partner with the best talent to bring these stories to a global audience. This new ownership will drive our continued investment in franchise IP, A-list talent, and strategic acquisitions in the U.S. and around the world,” said Penotti.  

Corwin and Penotti added, “Thanks to Sidney Kimmel’s decades long vision, support and trust, this is all possible. We are incredibly grateful to Sidney for his leadership and belief in our team, and we will continue to apply the important lessons we learned from him.”

SK Global believes that there are opportunities to buy other entertainment companies, particularly those with an international profile. The company views Southeast Asia, Latin America, Spain, India, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East as parts of the world where it can make an impact, potentially on the acquisition front. The company also plans to use the new capital from the deal to finance more projects that can attract top talent by potentially giving them the opportunity to participate in back-end profits, an avenue that streamers have largely closed off in recent years.

Upcoming SK Global projects include “Thai Cave Rescue” on Netflix, a second season of “Delhi Crime” that will also premiere on Netflix, and sequels and spinoffs to “Crazy Rich Asians.” SK Global is also working on a TV adaptation of “9 ½ Weeks,” a TV adaptation with Fox of “Hell or High Water” and the international spy series “Nameless,” which stars Henry Golding and is based on the Dean Koontz book series.

“We are excited to have acquired a majority stake in SK Global, a leader in independent content for global audiences,” added Josh Purvis, partner and COO of Centricus. “This deal marks an important investment in the media sector for Centricus. With strong leadership and strategy, we are confident in the ability to deliver on the vision to tell cultural stories around the world. We intend to continue investing in that vision through the financing of both content and acquisitions in this fast-growing space.”

Founded in 2016, Centricus oversees $40 billion of assets across financial services, technology, infrastructure and consumer, media, entertainment and sports. The company came close to acquiring a majority stake in Imagine Entertainment in 2022, but the deal was ultimately abandoned.

“This acquisition will allow SK Global to achieve new heights under the leadership of Charlie and John,” said Kimmel. “With Centricus’ support, I know SK Global can develop global franchises and content that will have global resonance. I could not be more proud of the company we’ve built, and I am confident SK Global will prosper under the stewardship of incredible leaders.”

The London and Century City offices of Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to Centricus and Eisner LLP and Ziffren Brittenham LLP represented SK Global and Sidney Kimmel, respectively. 

Pictured: Charlie Corwin, CEO of SK Global, and John Penotti, chief content officer of SK Global.

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