How David Ellison turned Skydance into Hollywood’s smart gamble

The equity deal with RedBird and CJ Entertainment valued Skydance at approximately $ 2.3 billion. At its current rate of growth, revenue is expected to grow more than 40 percent this year compared to the previous, the company said, Skydance could be worth $ 5 billion or more in a few years. Mr. Ellison would likely seek a sale or an initial public offering at that time.

Skydance could quickly become an acquisition target. After Amazon’s $ 8.45 billion purchase of MGM, content engines with access to established intellectual property, including Skydance, are hot prospects. Even if Skydance splits from Paramount next year, the expiring deal gives Skydance an incredible advantage: the continued right to invest in the Paramount franchises that Skydance is already involved in. “Star Trek.” “Mission Impossible.” “Jack Ryan.” “G.I. Joe.” “Top Gun”.

Comcast, which needs to boost its Peacock streaming service, could be a buyer. Also Apple, which considered acquiring MGM. This spring, Skydance received sensors from a Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation, or SPAC, run by Kevin A. Mayer, Disney’s former head of broadcasting.

“It is true that we have had some interesting conversations lately, but our growth curve is still significant and if we continue to work hard and stay adapted, that should give us a lot of options in the future,” Ellison said, sounding more like an MBA graduate than a budding entertainment mogul.

Skydance has wide-ranging expansion plans. Amy Hennig, a former senior creative executive at Electronic Arts, is building a video game division. Another department focuses on virtual reality content. Ellison recently hired Luis Fernández, a 20-year Disney veteran, to start a consumer products business. But the future of Skydance rests on scripted content and the degree to which it can create TV franchises and pay movies, as it appears to have done with “The Old Guard.”

Some people in Hollywood remain skeptical that Skydance has the creative expertise to pull it off. Mr. Ellison and his team have excelled in crafting projects (29 movies and TV series sold to streaming services in two years). But the execution, the quality, has been inconsistent. And quality matters: Skydance’s Michael Bay-directed action comedy “6 Underground,” drew views from 83 million Netflix accounts in late 2019. But the film also received less-than-stellar reviews, which declined. Netflix’s interest in a sequel.

A series of well-reviewed original hits would force Hollywood to finally take Mr. Ellison seriously as a creative powerhouse.

Add Comment