Candle Media, a newly formed venture run by entertainment executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by global investment firm Blackstone, has taken a minority investment in Westbrook Inc., the media company co-founded by Will Smith.
In announcing the deal, Mayer and Staggs praised Westbrook for “being a home for world-class creators, built for the digital age,” which they say “fully aligns” with their vision for the future of media. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Westbrook was founded by Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Miguel Melendez and Ko Yada with a focus on empowering artists to tell stories. It curates and produces content for all major platforms, and the overall company houses Westbrook Studios, Westbrook Media, Red Table Talk Productions, and the direct-to-consumer business Good Goods.
Since its launch Westbrook Studios’ slate of projects has included the Netflix docuseries Amend: The Fight For America and the Disney+ series Welcome to Earth. Westbrook Media has produced and released projects with partners such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and HBO Max including the popular Snapchat series Will From Home and Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk.
“Will, Jada, and Westbrook have a deep firsthand understanding of today’s evolving entertainment content and social media environment – and how to create high-quality, engaging content that spans platforms, genres, and geographies. We look forward to helping accelerate the company’s growth as they continue to build a next-generation leader in global entertainment,” said Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, and David Kestnbaum, Blackstone’s senior managing director, in a statement.
Candle had previously announced acquisitions of Hello Sunshine, a media company founded by Reese Witherspoon, and the children’s entertainment company Moonbug Entertainment.