Imagine Entertainment, the iconic production company founded and led by the Academy Award® and Emmy®-winning team of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, announced today that it has received a significant investment from prominent global merchant bank The Raine Group.
Over the past three decades, Imagine has cemented its stature as one of the most prolific production companies in Hollywood, creating culture-defining stories in film and television and constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation. With Raine's investment, Imagine will further expand its creative footprint, working with content creators across the entertainment spectrum and exploring new ways to integrate storytelling and technology.
"The ways in which content is created and consumed are transforming faster than ever before, expanding in directions that hadn't been conceived even a few years ago," said Mr. Grazer. "The opportunity to extend Imagine's reach across this expanding landscape is a driving force for us. Through this partnership, we are incredibly excited to roll out a slate of new projects that capture the imagination and visions we share on a global scale."
Raine's investment will provide Imagine with the backing to continue its strong growth trajectory under the leadership of Grazer and Howard, enabling the company to invest in content directly with other artists. In addition to television and film production, Imagine will continue to expand into new areas such as branded content, location based entertainment and digital formats, taking advantage of new technologies and forms of distribution. The company expects to explore both organic growth opportunities as well as potential acquisitions.
Mr. Howard commented, "We are proud of the legacy we have built with Imagine and are more excited than ever to build on it by tapping into our creative, experimental and entrepreneurial DNA to ignite new passion projects. This investment and partnership unlocks new doors for us as creators and for the company and its expansionary endeavors. It allows us to build upon our creative relationships to broaden our reach into all narrative formats and platforms. We appreciate Raine's support and welcome them to the Imagine family."
Raine has a history of partnering with successful content creators to help fuel their further growth. Past Raine investments include Vice Media, Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Important Studios, action sports company Nitro Circus and fantasy sports operator Draft Kings. Additional strategic co-investors brought in by Raine include China Media Capital, the Antenna Group and WPP.
"We have long admired Ron, Brian and their team as master storytellers," said Erik Hodge, who heads up Raine's entertainment practice. "We are excited to invest in and partner with Imagine as they expand their many successful franchises across new mediums."
"We have built our business on the principle that content and creators are the most valuable elements in today's media ecosystem," added Raine co-founder Joe Ravitch. "Imagine's well-established reputation as a talent-friendly creative partner was incredibly important to us, and we look forward to helping them grow their business and continue to tell amazing stories and astonish and delight global audiences as they continue in this tradition." In connection with the transaction, both Hodge and Ravitch will join Imagine's board.
Skip Brittenham and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie of Ziffren Brittenham LLP represented Imagine Entertainment in the investment deal while Neil Whorisky of Cleary Gottlieb acted as legal counsel to Raine.
Imagine Entertainment was founded in 1986 by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to create independently produced feature films, television programs and other original programming. Imagine Entertainment has been honored with more than 60 prestigious awards including 10 Academy Awards and 40 Emmy awards. Past productions include Academy Award Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind as well as 8 Mile, Apollo 13, American Gangster, The Da Vinci Code, Liar, Liar, Backdraft, and Parenthood to name a few. Upcoming films include Inferno, American Made, Lowriders and The Dark Tower. Current television productions include Fox's Empire and Shot's Fired and NatGeo's Breakthrough and Mars. Past Television productions include NBC's Parenthood, NBC's Friday Night Lights, Fox's 24 and 24: Live Another Day, Fox's and Netflix's Arrested Development, PBS's Curious George, as well as HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer began their collaboration in 1985 with the hit comedies Night Shift and Splash, and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as Executive Chairmen.
About The Raine Group
The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications. Raine has in excess of $2 billion in assets under management. The firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, and Shanghai. With a global reach, Raine focuses on investment and advisory opportunities where its deep industry experience and unique network of strategic relationships can create value for portfolio companies and clients. For more information visit http://www.raine.com/.
The Raine Group
Mary Beth Grover/Taylor Ingraham