Candle Media acquires stake in media company co-founded by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Candle Media, a company run by two former Walt Disney Co. executives, has agreed to acquire a stake in the media company of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, the latest in a series of high-profile acquisitions for the entertainment company backed by Blackstone Inc.

The company, which is led by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, is paying around $60 million to acquire more than 10% of Westbrook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Founded in 2019, Westbrook has backed projects such as the recent film “King Richard,” a biopic chronicling the life of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. Other Westbrook projects include the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion. on HBO Max and “Red Table Talk,” a Facebook Watch show featuring Mrs. Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

“Westbrook is the realization of our dream of giving artists of all backgrounds equal opportunity to pursue their creative visions and share their stories,” Ms. Pinkett Smith and Mr. Smith said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with Kevin, Tom and Blackstone to accelerate this mission by growing our content pipeline, talent network and global expansion plans.”

The Westbrook deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions over the past few months for Messrs. Mayer and Staggs.

In November, the company announced it was buying Moonbug Entertainment Ltd., the company behind the hit kids’ shows “CoComelon” and “Blippi,” for about $3 billion. In August, it announced it was spending $900 million to acquire Hello Sunshine, the media company founded by Reese Witherspoon.

Mr. Mayer told the Wall Street Journal in August that he and Mr. Staggs were building a new entertainment company for Hollywood’s streaming era. Some media companies are reluctant to license shows and movies to competitors, Mayer said, creating an opportunity for a new independent player.

Hollywood has seen a glut of offers in recent months, with buyers taking advantage of demand for movies and TV shows for new streaming services.

CJ ENM, the South Korean media company behind Oscar-winning “Parasite”, agreed in November to acquire a majority stake in the scripted entertainment business of Endeavor Content for a consideration of between $900 million and $1 billion, the Journal reported.

SpringHill Co., an entertainment company co-founded by National Basketball Association star LeBron James, agreed in October to sell a majority stake to a consortium of investors that valued the company at $725 million.

This story was published from a news agency feed with no text edits

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Cathy W. Howerton