The share deal with RedBird and CJ Entertainment values Skydance at around $2.3 billion. At current growth rates — revenue is expected to grow more than 40% this year from last year, the company said — Skydance could be worth $5 billion or more in a few years. Mr. Ellison will most likely pursue a sale or IPO at that time.
Skydance could quickly become an acquisition target. Following Amazon’s $8.45 billion purchase of MGM, content engines with access to established intellectual property, including Skydance, were hot prospects. Even if Skydance parted ways with Paramount the following year, the expiration of the deal gives Skydance an incredible privilege: the right to continue investing in the Paramount franchises that Skydance has been involved in. “Star Trek.” “Mission Impossible.” “Jack Ryan.” “Gi Joe.” “Top gunner.”
Comcast, the company that needs to promote its Peacock streaming service, could be a buyer. Apple, too, has considered choosing MGM. This spring, Skydance received feelers from a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, led by Kevin A. Mayer, a former Disney streaming executive.
“It is true that we have had some interesting conversations recently, but our growth curve is still substantial and if we continue to work hard and always adapt, that will bring we have many options in the future,” said Mr. Ellison, sounding more like an MBA graduate than a budding entertainment mogul.
Skydance plans to expand on a large scale. Amy Hennig, a former senior creative director at Electronic Arts, is building a video games division. Another division focuses on virtual reality content. Mr. Ellison recently hired Luis Fernández, a 20-year Disney veteran, to start a consumer products business. But Skydance’s future depends on scripted content, and the extent to which it can create paid TV and movie franchises quite unlike what it did with “The Old Guard.”
Some in Hollywood remain skeptical that Skydance has the creative ability to succeed. Mr. Ellison and his team have been excellent at putting projects together (29 films and TV series sold to streaming services in two years). But the execution – quality – is inconsistent. And quality matters: Skydance-produced “6 Underground,” an action comedy directed by Michael Bay, raked in views from the blockbuster hit 83 million Netflix accounts in late 2019. But the movie also received less than stellar reviews, dampening Netflix’s interest in a sequel.
A series of well-reviewed original hits will force Hollywood to finally take Mr. Ellison seriously as a creative powerhouse.