(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Bloomberg
Doha: Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is investing $150m in North Road Co., an independent studio that produces the TV series Love Is Blind and the Planet of the Apes films, a sign that Hollywood's growing austerity hasn't dampened investor enthusiasm for entertainment.
The deal values North Road at more than $1bn and resumes a relationship between the Qataris and media mogul Peter Chernin, North Road's chief executive officer. The Qatar Investment Authority previously invested in the Chernin Group, the investment and media company he founded after leaving Fox.
The money from Qatar is on top of an earlier commitment of as much as $500m from Providence Equity Partners and another $300m in debt financing from Apollo Global Management Inc. Chernin is stockpiling cash because he believes that several entertainment assets will go up for sale in the coming year or two and wants to have the resources to make deals. His company is already looking at three or four transactions, but he declined to specify which ones.
“There will be plenty of opportunities,” Chernin said in an interview.
“Rather than find an opportunity we don't have money for, we'd rather have enough of a bankroll that we have flexibility.” Chernin has already made a large bet on the value of unscripted programming. North Road last year acquired Red Arrow Studios' US assets, which owns the reality TV production outfit Kinetic Content. Kinetic produced some of Netflix's most popular unscripted programs, including Love Is Blind and The Ultimatum.
Chernin founded North Road last year as a holding company for several production companies and studios. He wants to build one of the largest suppliers of programming to global streaming services such as Netflix.
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