Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Ivanhoe Pictures Merge to Form SK Global

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for CBS Films

Building on a 2015 joint venture, the newly merged company also announced an equity investment from China Cultural and Entertainment Fund.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, the Hollywood-based independent film finance and production company, and Ivanhoe Pictures, a Hong Kong-based international local-language content company, announced Wednesday that the companies have merged to form SK Global. 

The two companies have actually been doing business with each other for some time. In 2015, they announced a joint venture, SKE Global, to co-produce local-language films for the international market. With Wednesday’s announcement, SK Global becomes the parent company, with SKE and Ivanhoe continuing to release film and TV projects under their respective labels.

SKE chairman and CEO Sidney Kimmel and Ivanhoe Pictures chairman Robert Friedland will serve as co-chairmen of SK Global, which will produce and finance international film and TV projects.

China Cultural and Entertainment Fund, a China-focused private equity fund and investment management company, is taking an equity position in SK Global, Kimmel and Friedland said. CCEF chairwoman Yang Liu and managing director Alick Dong will oversee the investment and provide strategic advice to SK Global as the new venture expands its production, distribution and financing apparatus throughout Asia.

Dong will join Kimmel, Friedland and SKE president John Penotti on the SK Global board of directors. Kimmel advisor Matthew Kamens and Ivanhoe vice chairman Gary Gartner also will join the board.

SK Global will control the combined libraries of both companies (including all current productions), consisting of more than 75 feature films. They include the recent best picture Oscar nominee Hell or High Water as well as such titles as The Place Beyond the Pines, The Age of Adaline, United 93, Adventureland, Lars and the Real GirlIn the Bedroom, Swimfan and A Prairie Home Companion. Several movies in the library are expected to become the basis for local-language film and television remakes.

“Our recent collaborations have been immensely successful," Kimmel and Friedland said in their joint statement. "Putting our respective operations under a larger tent has been an organic process. A unified SK Global gives us the strengthened operations and assets to grow our individual and collective businesses, and to expand the scope and creation of our international content. Initially, we have focused on the United States and Asian markets, but soon we will announce projects in Europe and Latin America, where we are actively developing and financing a diverse slate of film and TV projects that will be the subject of forthcoming announcements.”

Added Penotti: “SKE and Ivanhoe each have a distinct identity and brand in their respective markets: SKE with original English-language film for domestic and key international territories and Ivanhoe with its industry-leading, independent local-language film and television operations. We are aggressively working on an ambitious slate of projects for both labels under our new parent-company structure.”

The merger was negotiated by Ivanhoe’s Gary Gartner, Michael Hogan and Brian Kornreich, and law firm Gibson Dunn. CCEF was repped by Dong and law firm Loeb and Loeb. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment was repped in the transaction by law firm Cozen O’Connor and its CFO Richard Lewis.