TPG Real Estate Partners, the dedicated real estate equity investment platform of alternative asset firm TPG, today announced that it has acquired Cinespace Studios in Chicago and Toronto. 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.
Founded by the Mirkopoulos family in Toronto together with the Pissios family in Chicago, Cinespace specializes in the development, management, and operation of studio space and support facilities for the film, television, and digital media production industry. The company launched in Toronto in 1988 and today operates 23 production stages across the city, with another 12 stages planned for development on more than 40 acres. Cinespace Chicago opened in 2010 and currently operates 33 stages, with an additional 15 stages undergoing development or conversion on more than 60 acres. The Cinespace brand is recognized around the world for the productions filmed on its premises by the most renowned content creation companies.
“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.
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.