Actor and producer Will Smith (Bad Boys, Pursuit of Happyness, Ali, Men In Black, I am Legend etc.) has joined with Director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, James Bond – Quantum of Solace, World War Z, and the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ Christopher Robin) to acquire TELEPOOL GmbH, the diversified German licensing and distribution company that has grown into one of the major European players in the areas of theatrical, DVD, VoD, TV licensing and Games. As part of the sale, TELEPOOL will become a development, financing and distribution partner for the projects of Will Smith and Marc Forster. The acquisition was made by The Smith Family Circle, Will and Jada Smith’s Family Office, and Elysian Fields, a group of investors associated with Marc Forster.
Will Smith on the investment: “Marc and I took a close look at TELEPOOL and discovered a company that has an incredible reputation and a lot of potential. We look forward to working together and with the TELEPOOL team to create unique opportunities and content to strategically growing the business.”
Marc Forster adds: “As a German-born Swiss national, I was familiar with TELEPOOL long before completing this acquisition with Will and his family. We believe that TELEPOOL is well positioned for continued success and growth in our rapidly changing media landscape. I believe Will and I will be able to contribute our combined energies and global relationships to the company’s advantage. It’s an exciting undertaking.”
TELEPOOL’s core business is the acquisition, sale and promotion of theatrical, DVD, TV, VoD and gaming content, as well as merchandising and licensing of publishing and excerpt rights for German-speaking territories (GSA). Additionally, the group acts as a world sales company for theatrical and TV content. The TELEPOOL group has offices in Munich, Zürich, Leipzig, Seesen and Los Angeles.
As a part of the deal, Will Smith and James Lassiter's Overbrook Entertainment will have the option to develop and distribute film and television projects through TELEPOOL. Overbrook remains its own independent production entity producing and developing film and television content. Smith is also a co-owner of Westbrook Entertainment, the management, branding and digital content production company that he and Jada Pinkett-Smith started with their partner Miguel Melendez in 2016.
Similarly, Marc Forster and Renee Wolfe’s independent production entity 2dux² will also have the option to develop and distribute film and television projects through TELEPOOL while also remaining fully independent.
André Druskeit, since June 1 CEO of TELEPOOL Group: “The new shareholders are very much committed to continuing our business model. Also all management positions at subsidiary companies and all other management functions will remain unchanged for the time being. The setup is great and we’re looking forward to many exciting projects with Will, Marc and all our business partners. We will also continue the successful cooperation with our previous shareholders. Although they have indeed sold all of their shares in TELEPOOL, they have renewed their respective framework agreements with us. I would like to thank them for this as well as for the support throughout the past decades. Also many thanks to Dr. Thomas Weymar, our longtime CEO who retired by the end of May, for successfully developing our company over the last 25 years.”
Rudolf Matter, Director of Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) and former President of TELEPOOL’s board: “The parting shareholders, together with ZETRA International AG have carefully assessed the strategic options for TELEPOOL. After an extensive evaluation period we are very happy to place TELEPOOL into the hands of the group of investors headed by Marc Forster and Will Smith. We are convinced that this step will lead to interesting, new perspectives for the company and its employees.”
TELEPOOL was acquired from the company’s former public-broadcasting shareholders
Bayerischer Rundfunk, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, SWR Media Services GmbH (a subsidiary of Südwestrundfunk) and Telvetia S.A. (a subsidiary of SRF).
ELYSIAN FIELDS is a Zurich based strategic investment holding with a strong focus on media and entertainment cofounded by Marc Forster. Its partners seek for opportunities in the changing media landscape and help to enable the creative industry to create great content.
THE SMITH FAMILY CIRCLE manages the assets and business enterprises of the Smith family, based on the principle of Improving Lives.
ZETRA International AG, based in Zurich, Switzerland, acted as exclusive financial advisor to the sellers in the sale of TELEPOOL.
Dr. Kathrin Steinbrenner und Kristian Müller
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Press contact Will Smith:
Meredith O Sullivan und Sarah Rothman