June 26, 2018
Will Smith (Bad Boys, The Pursuit of Happyness, Ali, Men In Black, I am Legend) has joined with director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace, World War Z, and Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming Christopher Robin) to acquire Telepool GmbH, a German licensing and distributor.
Telepool was acquired from the company’s former public-broadcasting shareholders Bayerischer Rundfunk, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, SWR Media Services GmbH (a subsidiary of Südwestrundfunk) and Telvetia S.A. (a subsidiary of SRF). Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
As part of the sale, Telepool will become a development, financing and distribution partner for film projects of Will Smith and Marc Forster. The acquisition was made by The Smith Family Circle, Will and Jada Smith’s Family Office, and Elysian Fields, a group of investors associated with Marc Forster.
Telepool’s core business is the acquisition, sale and promotion of theatrical, DVD, TV, VOD and gaming content, as well as merchandising and licensing of publishing for German-speaking territories (GSA). Additionally, the group acts as a world sales company for theatrical and TV content. The Telepool group has offices in Munich, Zürich, Leipzig and Los Angeles.
“Marc and I took a close look at Telepool and discovered a company that has an incredible reputation and a lot of potential,” Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to working together and with the Telepool team to create unique opportunities and content to strategically growing the business.”
As a part of the deal, Smithand his long-time business partner James Lassiter will have the option to develop and distribute film and television projects through Telepool. Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment remains its own independent production entity producing and developing film and television content.
Similarly, Forster and Renee Wolfe’s independent production entity 2dux² will also have the option to develop and distribute film and television projects through Telepool while also remaining fully independent.
“As a German-born Swiss national, I was familiar with Telepool long before completing this acquisition with Will and his family,” said Forster. “We believe that Telepool is well positioned for continued success and growth in our rapidly changing media landscape.”
“The new shareholders are very much committed to continuing our business model, added André Druskeit, who assumed the CEO position on June 1. He said all management positions at subsidiary companies would remain unchanged for the time being.
“The setup is great, and we are looking forward to many exciting projects with Will, Marc and all our business partners,” Druskeit said.