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Tokyo Sport Maker Nexon Buys Into Marvel Administrators’ Manufacturing Firm

Tokyo Sport Maker Nexon Buys Into Marvel Administrators’ Manufacturing Firm

Nexon Co.

3659 -1.86%

is taking a minority stake in AGBO, the manufacturing firm co-founded by “Avengers: Endgame” administrators Joe and

Anthony Russo,

the 2 sides stated Wednesday, giving the sport developer a foothold within the rush for Hollywood content material firms.

Tokyo-based Nexon stated it could make investments $400 million for a 38% stake in AGBO, which has produced the

Netflix Inc.

hit “Extraction” and has a number of movie and TV initiatives in improvement at streaming providers.

The transaction values AGBO at $1.1 billion, and AGBO has the choice to request a further $100 million from Nexon within the first half of 2022.

The deal doesn’t require both firm to supply motion pictures or video games utilizing the opposite’s mental property, however executives from each stated they’d search for alternatives to work collectively. Nexon will get two seats on the board of AGBO, however the Russos and their executives will proceed to personal a majority of the corporate and management the board.

AGBO is the newest unbiased manufacturing agency to learn from a wave of funding, exhibiting how the streaming period has dissolved financing borders for leisure that seeks a world viewers. By way of the deal, Nexon video games and properties may very well be tailored into AGBO movie and TV initiatives. The 2 firms hope to copy the success the Russo brothers had in franchise diversifications at

Walt Disney Co.

’s Marvel Studios, signaling Hollywood’s continued deal with blockbuster leisure that may promote tickets, toys and extra.

The deal follows a string of investments capitalizing on a surge in manufacturing pushed by Wall Road’s embrace of streaming providers at main studios and at tech giants such

Apple Inc.

and

Amazon.com Inc.

Final summer season,

Reese Witherspoon’s

Howdy Sunshine was offered to a agency backed by

Blackstone Inc.,

a transfer that successfully put a “on the market” check in entrance of comparable entities.

Since then, youngsters’s leisure agency Moonbug Leisure Ltd. has been acquired by the identical Blackstone-backed firm, which this week additionally purchased a ten% stake in actor Will Smith’s Westbrook Inc. for about $60 million. SpringHill Co., the leisure agency co-founded by basketball phenom LeBron James, unloaded a stake in October. Related offers are anticipated to comply with, say traders and manufacturing firm executives.

A few of Nexon’s manufacturers are comparatively unknown within the U.S., however in style throughout components of Asia with video games together with “Dungeon & Fighter” and “MapleStory.” The corporate focuses on video games and immersive worlds that may take years to discover, stated Chief Government Officer

Owen Mahoney.

The corporate’s growth into movie and TV follows its hiring of Nick van Dyk, a former government in Disney’s corporate-strategy division and head of the movie and TV division at Activision Blizzard Studios. Mr. van Dyk runs Nexon Movie and Tv.

A cosplayer on the stand for ‘Dungeon & Fighter’—a preferred Nexon sport—at an leisure expo in Shanghai in 2020.



Photograph:

Yang Zhuo/VCG/Getty Pictures

AGBO, which the Russos co-founded in 2017 with

Mike Larocca,

has had a blended report with some releases, such because the motion thriller “21 Bridges” and conflict drama “Cherry.” Its slate of coming initiatives consists of a number of of the big-budget motion motion pictures Netflix and different providers are producing to compete with the massive display, comparable to “The Grey Man” starring Ryan Gosling as a rogue CIA operative.

A spokeswoman for privately held AGBO declined to offer detailed monetary outcomes for the studio. The corporate was worthwhile in 2021, based on an individual conversant in the matter, and the mixed budgets for its productions neared $1 billion throughout the previous 12 months.

Regardless of co-directing one of many highest-grossing theatrical releases of all time, “Avengers: Endgame,”

Joe Russo

stated that becoming a member of with a videogame firm made extra sense after observing the tastes of his 4 youngsters, all underneath the age of 25. “A movie show isn’t essentially the first supply of leisure for them,” he stated.

Nexon broached a possible deal final summer season over tuna tartare and salad on the Lodge Bel-Air in Los Angeles, based on folks concerned within the deal. AGBO Chief Government

Jason Bergsman

met with Mr. van Dyk and mentioned their shared pursuits, together with constructing immersive fictional worlds and utilizing know-how comparable to Epic Video games Inc.’s Unreal Engine. In September, Nexon pitched AGBO on an funding, which AGBO referred to an funding financial institution that was in discussions with quite a few potential traders on its behalf.

“It grew to become clear our firms have an identical mind-set about the way forward for franchise leisure, presenting good potential for us to work collectively,” Mr. Bergsman stated.

The deal, which values AGBO at $900 million earlier than money, doesn’t assure Nexon rights to accumulate a majority stake in AGBO, based on an individual conversant in the matter.

AGBO plans to make use of a few of the capital from Nexon to develop new film and tv franchises, Mr. Bergsman stated. The money will allow AGBO to personal a much bigger stake in a few of its productions, particularly some which are slated for theatrical launch and probably videogames, he stated.

Write to Erich Schwartzel at erich.schwartzel@wsj.com and Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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