HOLLYWOOD’S latest power couple hail from opposite sides of the world.
Samsung scion Miky Lee is one of the backers of a $275 million investment in Skydance Media, the company founded by Larry Ellison’s son David, 37, in 2010, according to a statement. The deal brings together the $62 billion Ellison fortune and South Korea’s $29 billion Samsung clan, the Asian nation’s richest.
Lee, 61, 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 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 and Okja.
David Ellison’s Skydance is best known for franchises like 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 Co. 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 Inc. 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 $2.3 billion, according to Tuesday’s statement. Other investors include Tencent Holdings Ltd. 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. “That made us really never be able to be complacent and keep pushing the directors, the creators, keep pushing the envelope.” — Bloomberg