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Toho Takes Significant Ownership Share of Global Studio with Expanded Presence in East and West; CJ ENM Remains Majority Stakeholder and Endeavor a Strategic Shareholder  FIFTH SEASON, a global leader in the creation, production, and distribution of feature films and premium television series, announced today it has secured a $225 million strategic investment from Toho International Inc. (Toho), the U.S. subsidiary of Toho Co., Ltd. (TYO: 9602), the Japanese entertainment group behind some of the most successful screen and stage productions in Japan and around the world. Among other global successes, Toho is known for creating the 69-year-old Godzilla franchise. Godzilla Minus One, the franchise’s acclaimed 37th installment, debuted in U.S. theaters on December 1st. The announcement was made by FIFTH SEASON Co-CEOs Graham Taylor and Chris Rice and Toho President Hiro Matsuoka. The investment, which gives Toho a 25% equity stake in the company, empowers FIFTH SEASON to continue expanding its broad slate of premium content, leveraging its uniquely integrated business ecosystem and collaborative partnerships with top creators and companies around the world, as well as its focus on inclusion and empowerment. Leading entertainment company CJ ENM (KOSDAQ: 035760) remains FIFTH SEASON’s majority owner, and Endeavor Group Holdings (NYSE: EDR) continues as a strategic shareholder. The investment also creates opportunities for collaboration among CJ ENM, FIFTH SEASON, and Toho, and bolsters the growth of FIFTH SEASON as a major global studio encompassing East and West cultures. CJ ENM and FIFTH SEASON will work with Toho to both produce global content and participate in content produced in Japan, while Toho’s development and production executives will team with FIFTH SEASON. Production and creative efforts that result from these collaborations will benefit from FIFTH SEASON’s robust global distribution network. Taylor and Rice said, “This investment is an excellent and unique opportunity to build on FIFTH SEASON’s momentum and solidify our leadership in the global independent film and television space. Strategic partnerships are a core piece of our DNA, and we were deliberate in moving forward with a company as successful, storied, and aligned with our goals and values as Toho. With their collaboration, alongside that of the great partnerships with CJ ENM and Endeavor, FIFTH SEASON is positioned better than ever to delight audiences around the world with an expansive slate of top-quality content.”  Matsuoka said, “We believe that this collaboration will be a significant step towards challenging the global market, not only in the field of animation where Toho has excelled, but also in the realm of live-action content. We are extremely grateful and excited to take on this challenge hand in hand with CJ ENM, which has been advancing into the global entertainment market from Asia, and Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company. Crossing the ‘bridge’ between Japan and the world that will be built through this collaboration, we hope to see Japanese projects, intellectual properties, and content expand further into the global market.” Koo Chang-gun, CEO of CJ ENM, remarked, “We are thrilled to have Toho, the biggest entertainment company in Japan, as our partner at this time when FIFTH SEASON is making significant strides as a global major studio. CJ ENM will continue to strengthen its competitive advantage as a content producer and bolster its status as a global IP powerhouse.” On the television side, FIFTH SEASON is the studio behind Severance, the hit Apple TV+ series nominated for 14 Emmys in 2022, directed and produced by Ben Stiller, starring Adam Scott and currently in production on Season 2. The company’s television slate also includes Max’s Tokyo Vice, Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman, and Hulu’s Life & Beth starring Amy Schumer, all three of which are also currently in production on their Season 2. New series in production include Chief of War starring Jason Momoa, Lady in the Lake directed by Sundance award winner Alma Har’el and starring Natalie Portman, and The Savant starring Jessica Chastain. In addition to its own productions, FIFTH SEASON handles global distribution for a library of premium series including Killing Eve, The Morning Show, Normal People, and The Night Manager, which recently announced its sequel. On its film side, FIFTH SEASON currently has in theaters Eileen directed by William Oldroyd and starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway. The studio’s upcoming features include Nonnas from director Stephen Chobsky, with an all-star cast led by Vince Vaughn, and Anniversary from writer-director Jan Komasa, starring Diane Lane and Mckenna Grace. The company’s film group has had critical and commercial success of late, balancing star-studded hits like 80 for Brady and Book Club with such acclaimed films as the Sundance Audience Award winner Cha Cha Real Smooth and Apple TV+ drama Flora and Son. Other recent successes include Michael Bay’s Ambulance, which overlapped in theaters with three-time Academy Award® nominee The Lost Daughter. FIFTH SEASON was advised on this transaction by The Raine Group, which acted as exclusive financial advisor, and O’Melveny as legal advisor.
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