Peter Chernin’s spending continues.
The former Fox boss’ The North Road Company has invested in and acquired a “significant” stake in Two One Five Entertainment, the production company founded by Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots.
The deal includes an equity stake, project financing and support to scale the business across scripted and non-scripted content.
The company is behind Academy Award-winning documentary Summer of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which was directed by Questlove and told the story of the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Other projects including The League, directed by Sam Pollard, about the Negro Baseball League, Descendant, which tells the stories of descendants of survivors of the Clotilda, the last ship that carried enslaved Africans to the United States, directed by Margaret Brown and produced with the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, and a Questlove-directed documentary for Hulu about Sly and the Family Stone.
The North Road Company is putting its funding to use; it received $800 million last year including $500M from Providence Equity Partners and $300M in debt financing from Apollo Advisors, through its managed affiliates, as well as an additional $150 million earlier this year from the Qatar Investment Authority.
The company was formed last year, bringing together Chernin Entertainment, the U.S. assets of Red Arrow Studios, including Love Is Blind producer Kinetic Content, and Connor Schell’s non-scripted business Words + Pictures.
Earlier this year, it made investments into Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions and Turkish producer Karga Seven Pictures.
This summer, it hired former Showtime boss David Nevins as CEO.
“Building our production company Two One Five, has been a major priority and the next chapter of creative evolution for Tarik and I. Although we’ve had success thus far, finding an investor and strategic partner like North Road will have an immediate impact on our business, as their superior production capabilities will help us significantly increase our output. Additionally, the capital they are committing provides us the flexibility to independently fund creative ideas, grow our executive team and truly scale the business,” said Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.
Nevins added, “Questlove and Black Thought have long been not only iconic musicians, but also beacons for talent. They are visionaries who have been behind some of the most impactful stories about music and Black culture and how they shaped America. We are thrilled to partner with such a uniquely creative team as they enter their next phase of growth, supporting them as they continue their excellent track record in the nonfiction space and seize the opportunity to achieve similar success in scripted film, television, and beyond.”
Questlove, Black Thought, The Roots, and Two One Five are all represented by long-time manager Shawn Gee and WME. The deal was brokered by ACF Investment Bank.