Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith sell their German production and licensing company

BY Preta Peace Namasaba May 19, 2024 2:55 AM EDT
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Photo credit: South China Morning Post

Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s entertainment venture company, Westbrook, has sold the German production and licensing entity Telepool to Vuelta Group. The latter, backed by private equity, finalized the deal through SquareOne, a subsidiary producer/distributor it acquired last year. Vuelta will merge Telepool with SquareOne to create a combined business operation under the SquareOne banner.

“I am proud of everything we achieved at Telepool. My sincere thanks go to my fantastic colleagues, our outstanding content partners, and Westbrook, with whom I have worked so productively. I wish the wonderful team of professionals and the new owners of the Vuelta Group Germany only the very best. I am convinced that Telepool will continue to be in the best hands,” said Yoko Higuchi-Zitzmann, former Telepool CEO.

Telepool has been one of the leading global content houses for over 60 years. It boasts a library consisting of over 1,200 titles such as Drive, The Intouchables, The Olympus Has Fallen, and Westbrook-produced features like Oscar winner King Richard, which stars Will Smith. The new and expanded company will be active across distribution and production, offering German-speaking audiences a variety of theatrical releases across multiple genres.

Vuelta Group intends to create a pan-European television and film studio that can produce and distribute big and small-screen European content across the continent. It has already acquired three independent European producers/distributors including Germany’s SquareOne, France’s Playtime, and Nordic group Scanbox, and controls Indiana Productions (Confidenza) in Italy. Vuelta Group’s Playtime sales company group will work alongside Global Screen, Telepool’s international sales arm to distribute premium feature films and TV series and continue their vision to expand their new and vibrant media powerhouse.

The Smiths launched Westbrook in 2019 to house all the family’s media content and commerce business portfolio. It serves as a studio for subsidiary companies like Overbrook Entertainment, Red Table Talk Enterprises, Westbrook Studios, Westbrook Media, and the merchandise business Good Goods. The company has leveraged the Smith family’s track record in entertainment and media to make business inroads in new media and technology, including short and mid-form digital content.

“With our incredible team of family, chosen family, and longtime business partners, Westbrook Inc.’s mission is to spread positive ideas, art, and products that entertain and empower the greatest number of lives, inspiring the next generation of artists to do good in the world,” Smith and Pinkett Smith said about why they created Westbrook.

Two years ago, Westbrook acquired Telepool, taking over its licensing, distribution businesses, and subsidiaries. The Smiths bought out the 50% stake previously held by Zurich-based investment holding company Elysian Invest AG and brought the company under the auspices of Westbrook. They intended to expand their capabilities in international content development, financing, production, and distribution, a task they have successfully executed.