The studio campuses of Cinespace Studios in Chicago and Toronto have been acquired by TPG Real Estate Partners for $1.1 billion. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Acquisition combines related, family-owned businesses to create the second largest independent owner of sound stages in North America and world leading studio real estate platform
Investment will accelerate growth of production in Chicago and Toronto, bringing more jobs to these markets
Cinespace will expand CineCares, the company’s initiative to provide jobs and production training to people in underserved communities
SAN FRANCISCO & FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TPG Real Estate Partners (“TREP”), the dedicated real estate equity investment platform of alternative asset firm TPG, announced Friday, November 12, 2021 that it has acquired Cinespace Studios in Chicago and Toronto (“Cinespace”). Cinespace is the second largest independent sound stage platform in North America with best-in-class studio campuses. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Cinespace is the location where Chicago Fire, Empire, and The Chi are filmed.
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“Consumer appetite for original content is a growing secular trend that has accelerated through the pandemic, leading to a dramatic increase in the demand to produce new films and television and in turn, a surge in the need for studio space,” said Avi Banyasz, Partner and Co-Head of TPG Real Estate. “We have been studying the content creation and production landscape as an investment theme for a few years, and in that time have developed a relationship with the family behind Cinespace. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand on their vision by building a best-in-class studio platform that serves the creator community and drives job growth in Toronto, Chicago, and beyond,” continued Jacob Muller, Managing Director at TREP.
“Illinois is proud to welcome TPG’s investment in Cinespace and Illinois’ booming film industry. Expanding the state’s capacity for television and media production will create opportunities for countless Illinoisans — including the job training and apprenticeship programs that have been hallmarks of Cinespace’s efforts in Illinois. I look forward to partnering with TPG to continue growing this critical industry and seeing what Illinois’ talent and infrastructure inspires in creatives across our state.”
— Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
“Chicago has a compelling, beautiful cityscape with so much potential for film productions of all mediums and sizes. I am thrilled to see this acquisition expand our capability for content creation and look forward to the jobs and productions it will bring to our region.”
— Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
As part of the acquisition, Eoin Egan and Keith Gee will join Cinespace as Co-Managing Partners and COO and CFO, respectively. Egan most recently served as Head of Production Services at Netflix, and Gee as the CEO of Strive and CFO and President of LifeStorage, two former TREP portfolio companies. Egan and Gee are accomplished executives who have significant experience building and scaling businesses. Cinespace intends to grow its employee base at each studio as a result of the transaction.
“This enterprise has been a true family business, and today’s transaction marks another important milestone in our 33-year history. In TPG, we’ve found a partner who loves our great city of Toronto, respects Cinespace’s heritage and tradition of philanthropy, and has the expertise and resources to help lead the company into its next phase of growth,” said Steve Mirkopoulos, President and CEO of Cinespace Toronto. “Community has always been core to who we are at Cinespace, and I am deeply proud of the employment and education opportunities we’ve created. TPG’s investment will expand these efforts and provide more jobs for Illinois, one of the many reasons why we feel they are the right fit to take on the business,” continued Alex Pissios, President and CEO of Cinespace Chicago. Cinespace Toronto VP Jim Mirkopoulos added, “The family is incredibly proud of our track record – catalyzing economic activity and jobs in Ontario and Illinois, inspiring countless York University and DePaul University film students, and providing the best possible spaces and services to our clients, including for many award-winning projects. TPG is investing in two of the most stable and sought-after filming jurisdictions in the world, and we are excited to see Cinespace’s continued growth and success with TPG.”
TREP plans to expand the work done by the CineCares Foundation, a platform founded by Cinespace in Chicago in partnership with key productions on site to provide job training and education to underserved communities. The CineCares Foundation aims to empower Chicago residents in these communities by creating opportunities for education and employment in the TV and film industry. The program has provided training to local youth and young adults, giving its apprentices the opportunity to work on Cinespace Chicago campus productions.
“Since launching in 1988, Cinespace has been a pillar of Toronto’s world class entertainment industry. They have been the source of incredible Canadian content and a steady job creator for the City and Province. We welcome this acquisition by TPG and look forward to their continued investment in Cinespace and commitment to growing their operations in Toronto. They will find no better place in Canada to do business and we are excited and confident in the future of Cinespace.”
— The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Toronto Mayor John Tory added: “Toronto continues to be a leader in film and TV and that has been made possible through investments from leading companies who see the value and potential in our city and our residents. Today’s news is good news for Cinespace Studios, our city, and our thriving film sector. I want to thank TPG for their commitment and investment in Toronto and the future of Cinespace. I also want to thank the Mirkopoulos family for founding and building up Cinespace here in our city. They were among the real pioneers in building something special in our city – they have helped me champion the local industry and attract new jobs and investments here. I look forward to seeing Cinespace and the entire film sector in the city with all the jobs that rely on it continue to grow over the coming years.”
The Chi is an American drama television series created by Lena Waithe about life in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The pilot was directed by Rick Famuyiwa, premiering on Showtime on January 7, 2018. In August 2021, after the conclusion of the fourth season, the series was renewed for a fifth season. The series also airs on sister network BET Wednesdays at 10pm.
Empire is an American musical drama television series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong for Fox. It is a joint production by Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television. Although it is filmed in Chicago, the show’s fictional setting is in New York. The series presents a fictional hip hop music and entertainment company known as Empire Entertainment, and relates the drama among the members of the founders’ family as they fight for control of Empire Entertainment.
Chicago Fire is an American drama television series created by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas with Dick Wolf as an executive producer. Chicago Fire is the first installment of Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment’s Chicago franchise “Chicago One” — Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Justice.
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Jones Lang Lasalle served as financial advisor to TREP. Eastdil Secured provided financing advisory to TREP for the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP served as legal counsel to TREP. Much Shelist P.C. and Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP served as legal counsel to Cinespace.
About TPG Real Estate Partners
TPG Real Estate Partners (“TREP”) is the dedicated real estate equity investment platform of global alternative asset firm TPG. Today, TREP has $5.3 billion of assets under management. Since its inception in 2009, TREP has built a differentiated investment portfolio comprised primarily of real estate-rich platforms and portfolios located in the United States and Europe. TPG was founded in 1992 and now has approximately $108 billion of assets under management with investment and operational teams in 12 offices around the world. For more information, visit www.tpg.com.