Skybound hires ex-EA biz dev exec as it ponders acquisitions

Skybound Entertainment, the multi-platform entertainment company behind mega hit franchises like
The Walking Dead, has hired an acquisitions specialist to consider acquiring other companies.

Coming on board is Jeff Chaiken, a former EA executive who will be Skybound’s new senior vice president and head of corporate development and strategy, a new role for the company. Chaiken comes to Skybound with over three decades of experience in M&A, partnerships, and strategy within the media and entertainment and technology sectors.

That’s right, small game companies. The Walking Dead company might come shuffling after you.

Chaiken was most recently head of corporate development and strategy at Electronic Arts (EA), where he successfully completed transactions expanding EA’s global studio footprint, enhancing EA’s mobile, sports, and entertainment portfolios, and bringing new talent, IP, and technology to the company.

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Jeff Chaiken will run corporate development at Skybound Entertainment.

Notable transactions include the acquisitions of Respawn Entertainment, the creators of Titanfall, Apex Legends, and Star Wars: Jedi & Fallen Order; Codemasters’ racing portfolio, including the highly acclaimed F1 Racing; and the addition of many other fan favorite games such as Golf Clash, Design Home,
Covet Fashion, and Super Mega Baseball.

Besides The Walking Dead, which was created by Skybound founder Robert Kirkman, Skybound also owns the Invincible and Impact Winter entertainment properties.

Robert Kirkman spoke publicly for the first time since the pandemic at GamesBeat Summit 2023.
Robert Kirkman spoke publicly for the first time since the pandemic at GamesBeat Summit 2023.

Joining during a period of notable global expansion for Skybound, Ned Sherman, chief business affairs & legal officer at Skybound Entertainment notes, “We are so excited to welcome Jeff as a key leader on our executive team. By bringing Jeff on, we’re signaling to the market and the business community that we are eagerly and actively looking for more deals.”

Chaiken will be integral to Skybound’s strategic planning efforts, focusing on identifying and executing global initiatives, including growth fundraising, investments, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, partnerships, and other strategic transactions.

Chaiken sees a tremendous opportunity in joining Skybound to lead the company’s ambitious initiatives as well.

“Skybound’s expertise in bringing compelling entertainment experiences to audiences across mediums, unlocks exciting first-to-market advantages across the TV, film, video game, animation, board game, and merchandise sectors. Skybound has a broad portfolio of beloved content & IP, and a high-caliber, experienced team comprised of the industry’s top talent, and I am looking forward to working with this team to continue Skybound’s impressive global growth,” said Chaiken, in a statement.

Chaiken’s hire comes on the heels of several recently completed growth transactions by Skybound, including the acquisition of Sagafilm ehf, a prominent Nordic production company; a majority investment in Nordic games publisher 5th Planet Games; a strategic partnership with game maker MegaCat Studios; an investment in French production company Scenario42, helmed by entertainment tastemaker Médéric Albuoy; and the establishment of Skybound’s latest outpost, Skybound Japan, focusing on Manga, anime, and other Japanese entertainment forms.

Prior to EA, Chaiken held leadership roles in corporate development supporting Hewlett-Packard’s software & technology business and in strategy consulting at Accenture in the Media & Technology sector.

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