Hollywood’s latest power couple come with serious clout
A Samsung heir invests $275m in Skydance Media, underscoring the movie world’s appeal to the world’s richest people, especially after Parasite
London — Hollywood’s latest power couple hail from opposite sides of the world.
Samsung scion Miky Lee is one of the backers of a $275m investment in Skydance Media, the company founded by Larry Ellison’s son David in 2010, according to a statement.
The deal brings together the $62bn Ellison fortune and a descendant of South Korea’s $29bn Samsung clan, the Asian nation’s richest.
Lee, the granddaughter of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull, oversees CJ Group’s entertainment and media business, a separate conglomerate from Samsung Group. It opened her homeland’s first multiplex, invested in the DreamWorks studio and funded Parasite, the South Korean comic thriller that won four Oscars on Sunday, including best picture.
With Lee’s avid support for the film industry, CJ has financed and distributed three other films made by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, including Snowpiercer.
David Ellison’s Skydance is best known for franchises such as the Mission: Impossible films and the upcoming Top Gun sequel. It courted controversy last year after it hired Pixar pioneer John Lasseter to lead its animation business, scooping up the former Walt Disney executive who was dismissed for workplace misconduct.
The tie-up underscores the entertainment world’s enduring appeal to the world’s richest people. In 2004, former Ebay executive Jeff Skoll started Participant Media, which makes movies targeting social issues. David Ellison’s sister Megan is also a film producer, whose credits include Zero Dark Thirty and Phantom Thread.
The Skydance deal, led by investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, values the company at $2.3bn, according to Tuesday’s statement. Other investors include Tencent Holdings and the Ellison family.
Lee’s involvement is an even bigger coup after Parasite took home the top award at the Oscars. Her acceptance speech suggests she won’t be diluting the sometimes challenging output of her media empire.
“I really want to thank our Korean film audience,” she said at the ceremony in Los Angeles. “It made us never really be able to be complacent and to keep pushing the directors, the creators; keep pushing the envelope.”