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The Westbrook sale marks the fourth high-profile deal for Candle Media, Mayer and Staggs’ previously unnamed media venture backed by Blackstone. Mayer and Staggs had been in conversations with Westbrook about an acquisition since last September, as THR reported at the time.
“Westbrook is the realization of our dream to give artists from all backgrounds equal opportunities to pursue their creative visions and share their stories. We are pleased to join forces with Kevin, Tom and Blackstone to accelerate this mission by growing our content pipeline, our talent network and our global expansion plans,” the Smiths said in a joint statement.
In a separate statement, Mayer and Staggs described Westbrook as “a home for world-class creators that is built for the digital age” that “fully aligns” with Candle Media’s “vision for the future of media.”
Westbrook Inc. includes a production studio, Westbrook Studios, which is behind films like King Richard and TV series like Red Table Talk and Cobra Kai, and a digital arm, Westbrook Media, that sold the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special on HBO Max and an Alicia Keys docuseries to YouTube, among others. Upcoming projects from Westbrook include the action film Emancipation, which stars Will Smith and sold to Apple TV+ in 2020 out of the Cannes Virtual Market, and the Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air, that will premiere next month on Peacock.
In addition to CEO Kosaku Yada, Westbrook Inc. is led by president Tera Hanks and first launched in 2019. The deal comes on the heels of Mayer and Staggs’ late December acquisition of Faraway Road, the producer of the Netflix shows Fauda and Hit & Run. In November, the company also bought Moonbug Entertainment, the owner of the hit kids show CoComelon, in a deal worth $3 billion, while Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, which produces The Morning Show and runs Reese’s Book Club, sold to the Blackstone-backed venture in a deal valued at $900 million.
The Information first reported the deal for a minority stake in Westbrook.
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