Empire Investment Holdings Acquires CSS Studios

Empire Investment Holdings has acquired CSS Studios from Discovery Communications. CSS is a US-based holding company that owns seven postproduction sound businesses.


Empire Investment Holdings (“Empire”), a private investment firm focused on the acquisition and strategic management of non-core business units from public and private corporations, announced today that it has acquired CSS Studios, LLC (“CSS”), from Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA). CSS is a holding company that owns seven distinct businesses, which together comprise the largest independent postproduction sound company in North America.
The family of businesses provide creative postproduction sound services to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and interactive producers. The businesses operate out of nine facilities across Los Angeles and New York City equipped with best in class technology, heightened security and staffed by the industry’s top talent.
Through this acquisition, Empire adds the following businesses to its global portfolio:
Todd-AO – For over half a century, Todd-AO has provided postproduction sound services to feature film and television producers from facilities in Burbank, Hollywood and Santa Monica. Todd-AO has won numerous awards and accolades, including Academy Awards in Sound, for titles such as The Hunger Games, The Bourne Ultimatum, Dreamgirls, Chicago, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator, as well as classic titles including Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Sound of Music, West Side Story and Oklahoma!. Todd-AO has also received numerous Emmy Awards for Sound for projects such as Entourage, The Pacific and John Adams, as well as for classic titles such as Hill Street Blues and Cheers.
Soundelux – For over 30 years, Soundelux has been the leading postproduction sound company in sound editorial, sound supervision and sound design. The services offered at its Hollywood facilities also include the Soundelux Library, a notable collection of over 400,000 unique high-quality sounds. Recent accomplishments include Academy Award nominations in Best Sound Editing for Drive, Unstoppable, Star Trek and Inglourious Basterds. Soundelux’s most recent Academy win was for The Bourne Ultimatum. Other notable credits include JFK, Braveheart, Gladiator, Shrek, Black Hawk Down, Ray and Kill Bill.
Sound One – The company primarily offers sound re-recording, ADR, Foley, editorial and transfer services. Most recently, Sound One was nominated for a British Academy Award in Sound for Black Swan. Other notable credits include Drive, Julie and Julia, Treme, Goodfellas and Chicago.
Modern Music – The company is a full-service professional music support company, specializing in providing music editorial services for feature film and television. The range of services includes building and tracking temporary soundtracks, providing support to composers during the writing and music scoring processes, providing music supervisor support, sourcing music and preparing for music soundtrack release. Some notable credits include Transformers, Inception, The Dark Knight, John Adams, Spider-Man, Memoirs of a Geisha and Pirates of the Caribbean.
POP Sound – The company provides postproduction sound services to advertising agency producers for commercials and studio home entertainment divisions. Additionally, it services independent features, music videos, video games and television. POP Sound has established a strong reputation in the creative advertising business, which includes relationships with leading advertising agencies servicing a number of high profile campaigns.
Soundelux Design Music Group (DMG) – DMG offers sound design, music composition and voice-over related services for video games, commercials and location-based entertainment. DMG specializes in creating unique solutions for its clients and its credits include God of War, Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, Age of Empires, Gears of War and SOCOM 4.
The Hollywood Edge – The company provides a premier sound effects library for major motion pictures, television and digital gaming. Hollywood Edge hosts a community for sound professionals worldwide, providing a wide collection of sound effects, recordings and music that it has collected or created over time. Sound effects packages can be purchased from the company’s website in the form of CD’s and are also available for digital download through iTunes and/or other distribution partners.
“Empire demonstrated a clear passion for the business and emerged as the right owner,” said Andrew Warren, chief financial officer at Discovery Communications.
“We look forward to partnering with the team at Empire, as we focus on continuing to build on the body of award winning work created by the best talent in the industry,” said Robert C. Rosenthal, president at CSS Studios.
“Our team is energized to begin working with the management team and the creative talent within each business,” said David F. Alfonso, Empire’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We will build upon the successes that the team of creative editorial and mixing talent has created over the years, while promoting an environment that will continue to set the standard and produce award winning results.”
Empire engaged Ropes & Gray LLP, Lockton, RJC Group and Mr. J. Patrick (Rick) Michaels, Jr. from CEA Associates as its advisors for the transaction.
Peter J. Solomon Company acted as financial advisor and Proskauer Rose LLP acted as legal advisor to Discovery Communications.
About Empire Investment Holdings
Empire Investment Holdings (“Empire”) is a is a private investment firm focused on the acquisition and strategic management of non-core business units from public and private companies. Empire has acquired business units from Fortune 500 companies such as; IKON Office Solutions, Teleflex, Leggett & Platt, and Ahlstrom. Empire’s portfolio is comprised of operating companies that serve thousands of customers worldwide with a global footprint and over 1,000 associates.

About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 209 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through 149 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including Revision3.