Sidney Kimmel and Ivanhoe Pictures Merge to Form SK Global to Produce and Finance International Film and Television Content

Substantial Equity Investment to be Provided by China Cultural and Entertainment Fund

Santa Monica, California, UNITED STATES

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., March 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE), a Hollywood-based, independent film finance and production company, and Ivanhoe Pictures (IP), a Hong Kong-based, international local-language content company, jointly announced today that the companies have merged to form SK Global. 

SKE Chairman and CEO Sidney Kimmel and Ivanhoe Pictures Chairman Robert Friedland, who will be Co-Chairmen of SK Global, said in a joint statement that the new entity will pursue international opportunities to produce and finance film and television content.

SKE and Ivanhoe began collaborating on a slate of local-language productions after John Penotti – a long-time executive and producer, and co-founder of Ivanhoe Pictures – introduced the two chairmen in 2015. At that time, Penotti became President of Kimmel’s SKE while continuing to lead Ivanhoe’s expansion into international markets, including India, Korea, and China. With today’s announcement, SK Global becomes the parent entity, while Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Ivanhoe Pictures will continue to release film and TV projects under their respective labels.

Kimmel and Friedland also announced that China Cultural and Entertainment Fund (CCEF), a China-focused private equity fund and prominent investment management company, is taking a substantial equity position in SK Global. 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 Penotti on the SK Global Board of Directors. Longtime Kimmel advisor Matthew Kamens and Ivanhoe Pictures 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. These include this year’s box office hit and four-time Academy Award-nominated Hell or High Water, The Place Beyond the Pines, The Age of Adaline, United 93, Adventureland, Lars and the Real Girl, the five-time Academy Award-nominated In The Bedroom, Swimfan, A Prairie Home Companion, and many other notable films. Several films in the library are being considered for local-language film and television remake opportunities around the world.

Kimmel and Friedland noted in their joint statement: “Our recent collaborations have been immensely successful. 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.”

The Chairmen added: “Ms. Yang Liu and her team’s extensive financial and strategic operations in China and Greater Asia afford our new venture a crucial advantage in building new associations and partnerships throughout Asia. We are proud to welcome them to our team.”

States Yang Liu: “We are equally excited to be partnering with Mr. Kimmel, Mr. Friedland, Mr. Penotti, and SK Global’s prominent team. We believe the new venture will have a prosperous future in China, and our strategic alliance is valuable to the increasingly interconnected China and U.S. film markets.”

Penotti acknowledged the international business successes that are hallmarks of Kimmel’s and Friedland’s careers:  “They have been adventurous and successful in their film enterprises as well, and saw the opportunity and security to be achieved by combining their premier assets and interests under one banner. As the parent entity, SK Global will be the engine for our expansion as we grow the individual businesses of financing and producing film and television for rapidly growing markets.

“SKE and Ivanhoe each have a distinct identity and brand in their respective markets,” Penotti continued, “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 SK Global merger agreement was negotiated by Ivanhoe’s Gary Gartner, Michael Hogan and Brian Kornreich, and law firm Gibson Dunn – CCEF was represented by Alick Dong and law firm Loeb and Loeb. Sidney Kimmel Entertainment was represented in the transaction by law firm Cozen O’Connor and its Chief Financial Officer, Richard Lewis.


Sidney Kimmel is the founder of international fashion giant Jones Apparel Group, and served as its Chairman and CEO; he also is one of the nation’s leading philanthropists, and often is considered the largest individual donor to cancer research. He is a veteran film financier and producer whose career in filmmaking dates back to the 1980s, and includes such films as 9 ½ Weeks, Blame It On Rio, Breach, Moneyball, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Kite Runner, and many others.


Robert Friedland has been an entrepreneur, company founder, and financier for international business enterprises through his Ivanhoe Capital Corporation for the past 30 years. He heads a portfolio of public and private companies whose activities range from the discovery and development of world-scale mineral resources to the provision of sustainable, energy-efficient power solutions using innovative, breakthrough technologies. He has established and leads businesses – including I-Pulse, Clean TeQ and Ivanhoe Mines – that are committed to the production of materials required for electric and fuel-cell vehicles, energy transmission, and lightweighting and strengthening of recyclable industrial metals; the application of advanced techniques to explore for reserves of fresh water, minerals and oil; and installation of large-scale, battery-based energy storage systems. The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame acclaimed him as “one of the most recognized mining personalities and achievers in the world.”


Yang Liu is the Chairwoman of CCEF, Co-High Investment Management Limited, and the Chairwoman and Chief Investment Officer of Atlantis Investment Management (Hong Kong) Ltd. Liu has more than 20 years of experience in investing in the Greater China region. In 2001, Liu was head of China equities at First State Investment Management (HK). She joined CMG CH China Investment Ltd in 1993, where she was the Chief Investment Officer of CMG CH China Fund (later renamed New Era PRC Fund), which also was the first closed-ended China Fund listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.


Sidney Kimmel Entertainment has been one of the most consistent financiers and producers of independent motion pictures for more than 20 years, amassing an impressive library of copyrighted titles. SKE’s 2016 hit feature Hell or High Water (financed and produced in association with OddLot Entertainment) was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

SKE’s upcoming motion pictures include the following, now in post-production:

  • The Book of Henry, directed by Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), starring Naomi Watts and premiering later this year from Focus Features
  • Brad’s Status (produced with Amazon Studios), directed by Mike White (School of Rock) and starring Ben Stiller
  • Actor/filmmaker John Turturro’s Going Places, starring Susan Sarandon, Bobby Cannavale, and Audrey Tautou

 Kimmel and/or SKE have co-financed and produced/co-produced more than 40 motion pictures. SKE releases include:

  • The box office success Age of Adaline, produced with Lakeshore Entertainment and released by Lionsgate
  • The hit thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey, again with Lakeshore and Lionsgate
  • The British comedy hit Death at a Funeral (as well as the American remake), with co-writer/co-producer Chris Rock leading an all-star ensemble cast, released by Screen Gems
  • Marc Forster's The Kite Runner, produced with DreamWorks, Participant Productions, and Parkes/MacDonald Productions
  • Breach, the true story about an FBI traitor starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, and Laura Linney
  • Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling, directed by Craig Gillespie, and released by MGM
  • The Oscar-nominated United 93, directed by Paul Greengrass, in association with Universal Pictures


Robert Friedland and producer John Penotti formed Ivanhoe Pictures in late 2013. As part of this launch, Friedland acquired Penotti’s long-standing company GreeneStreet Films, which had produced more than 30 distinguished independent features. Since then, Ivanhoe has been financing and producing films throughout Asia, focusing on China, Korea, and India. An active slate in various stages of production includes numerous co-productions with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions (in India and Korea) and with Fox International Productions.

Ivanhoe’s Korean language The Wailing, a recent collaboration with Fox International Pictures, was a significant breakout hit and the most-awarded Korean film of 2016.  The film grossed $50mil USD in Korea, becoming Fox’s second-highest grossing film in Korea after Avatar. The Hindi thriller Ghoul – produced by Ivanhoe, Blumhouse Productions, and Phantom Films – is in post-production, as is the Mandarin film My Other Home, in partnership with Beijing’s Hairun Media. Next up is the Warner Bros. production of Crazy Rich Asians, produced with Color Force’s Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, directed by Jon Chu and starring Constance Wu. Principal photography will begin this spring.


China Cultural and Entertainment Investment L.P., or China Cultural and Entertainment Fund (“CCEF”), is a private equity fund that focuses on the cultural and entertainment sector in the Greater China region. CCEF is managed by Co-High Investment Management Limited, a China-oriented investment management company. Co-High focuses on Cultural & Entertainment; Technology; Media and Telecommunications; healthcare; and consumer sectors. Steeped in a culture of hard work and integrity, Co-High pursues sustainable growth models that deliver results over the lifetime of its investments.



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