Pandemic in Progress: real estate & a robot

If some are rushing towards investing in properties then others are quick to sell them to pay for content. Legendary Entertainment sold a portion of its stock to private equity firm Apollo. China’s Dailan Wanda remains majority shareholder. Paramount (ViacomCBS) sold CBS campus in Los Angeles for nearly 2 billion dollars to Hackman Capital, who last year purchased Kaufman-Astoria Studios and Silvercup Studios in New York and is developing space in Scotland and Toronto, according to reports. The CBS lot sits on 55 acres and consists over 1mm square feet of space including 22 stages, production office, support buildings, third-party tenant offices, a purpose-built broadcast center and backlot locations. In addition to real estate, Paramount sold CNET and Simon & Schuster. Private equity firms are believed to be responding to the annual “Peak TV” data released by FX Networks in January, showing 559 English-language scripted series on broadcast, cable and streaming, a record and 13 percent jump from 2020.

In local news, Domain Capital and Capstone South Properties have purchased a 17-acre site for an initial six stage, 300,000 square foot film studio to be called, Electric Owl Studios, in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The initial stage is slighted to be completed in 2023. In what seems like a semi-frequent news event, Lionsgate was lately exploring options with streamer Starz, home of Power, Blindspotting and Hightown. Only time will tell if the management team will locate potential capital market alternatives for its “Media Networks” business. Bad Robot Media (JJ Abrams) is launching a podcaster, Bad Robot Audio, to ben run by a veteran producer from Spotify and Audible, Christina Choi. Further, Spotify has a first-look deal with the newly formed company, to develop and produce original scripted and non-scripted podcasts. Finally, movie release delays are not the result of box office woes, rather, schedules are as Disney delayed several releases, including Dr. Strange, Thor, and Black Panther sequel. Lots to look forward to in 2023.

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