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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Inc. has taken full control of the German licensing and distribution company Telepool, buying out the 50 percent stake in the Munich-based group previously owned by Swiss backer Elysian Invest.
Telepool will be brought under Westbrook’s new Westbrook International banner. Telepool CEO Jan Frouman has been named president of Westbrook International.
The Smiths and Elysian bought into Telepool in 2018, with the Swiss group and Will and Jada Smith’s family office The Smith Family Circle each taking 50 percent control. At the time, German-Swiss filmmaker Marc Forster (World War Z) was a participant in Elysian though he is no longer an investor.
Telepool is one of Germany’s leading licensors of film and television rights. The company holds German distribution rights to Oscar contender King Richard, starring Smith, which Westbrook produced for Warner Bros., and the German group boasts a massive library of film and TV rights. Telepool also owns the international sales operation Global Screen.
Westbrook, whose TV credits include Netflix hit Cobra Kai, is pushing to expand internationally, announcing production partnerships with Mo Abudu’s Nigerian production studio EbonyLife and Yasushi Akimoto’s Akimoto Project in Japan.
Candle Media, the equity group run by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by investment capital from Blackstone, recently took a minority stake in Westbrook.
Frouman will be tasked with growing Westbrook’s international operation. The German executive is a well-respected veteran in the industry, having spent a decade building up and running the international television production and sales group Red Arrow Studios.
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