South Korea’s CJ ENM acquires ‘La La Land’ producer Endeavor Content

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SEOUL, Nov. 22 (UPI) — South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM announced it has agreed to purchase Hollywood film studio Endeavor Content, which produced global hit La La Land.

The Seoul-based company will spend $775 million to gain an about 80 percent stake in Endeavor Content, which was owned by the global sports and entertainment group Endeavor Group Holdings, CJ ENM announced Friday.

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CJ ENM and Endeavor plan to finish the transaction by the first quarter of next year. The latter’s CEOs Chris Rice and Graham Taylor will continue to manage the company.

“We are excited to announce this deal with Endeavor Content, a company that is growing at a remarkable speed in the U.S. and European markets,” CJ ENM CEO Kang Ho-sung said in a statement.

“At the end of the day, CJ ENM strives to become a major global studio that encompasses content that appeals to a global audience — as with this deal with Endeavor Content, we will continue to expand our presence in the global market,” he said.

Observers point out that the deal shows CJ ENM’s multifaceted strategy, which is trying to strengthen its footing outside South Korea.

Founded in 2017, Endeavor Content has distributed various content to global video channels.

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“CJ ENM has been good at producing Korean-language content. But it has been relatively weak in coming up with English-language content. The addition of Endeavor Content will help CJ ENM address this weakness,” HMC Investment & Securities analyst Kim Hyun-yong told UPI News Korea.

“The acquisition will also raise the profile of CJ ENM. The company is already an established player in South Korea and Asia. In the global scene, however, CJ ENM is not a major player,” he said.

CJ ENM is also expected to make other aggressive investments as CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun recently disclosed the conglomerate’s plan to spend up to $9 billion on its future businesses by 2023.

Earlier this month, Lee appeared in public for the first time in a decade to disclose the investment plan. He is a cousin of Samsung Group’s de facto owner Lee Jae-yong.

La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, won five Academy Awards in 2017.

Ryan Gosling attends the premiere of “La La Land” at Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles on December 6, 2016. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo