Previous investors RedBird Capital and Tencent have also upped their contributions, bringing the total valuation of the producer behind “Top Gun: Maverick” to over $4 billion. The Ellison family remains the majority stakeholder in the venture.
“Skydance has already created a diverse collection of premium content across multiple formats, and we are only in the early stages of what they can accomplish. We look forward supporting the Skydance team as they continue to build their business across TV, film, animation, gaming and sports and tell compelling stories in new and innovative ways,” said KKR parter Ted Oberwager, who leads the gaming, entertainment, media and sports verticals within KKR’s Americas Private Equity business.
Ellison specifically highlighted Skydance’s sports and interactive divisions as prime beneficiaries from the new investment. Earlier this year, Skydance Sports launched as a “multi-platform storytelling content studio around sports,” Ellison told Variety on Thursday. The first project set up at the unit is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s film about Sonny Vaccaro, the shoe executive who tirelessly pursued Michael Jordan for an endorsement, which Amazon Studios will distribute. On the interactive front, Skydance has two teams including virtual reality (which counts the top-selling title “The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners”) and video games.
“Their track record of how they can foster and grow businesses across platforms is pretty singular. We’re proud to be a part of that family,” Ellison said of KRR. “They also have incredible portfolio companies across interactive and Web3, which are very strategic in terms of cross-platform approach.”
It’s not a bad time to invest in Skydance. In addition to the runaway success of “Maverick,” the film division has launched three all-time most viewed titles at Netflix (“The Adam Project,” “The Old Guard,” “6 Underground”), as well as Amazon hits “Reacher” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” Both live-action and animation efforts from Skydance now fall under a first-look deal at Apple Studios, though Skydance will continue work on franchise includes “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers” at Paramount.