The independent studio, founded in 2010 by David Ellison, son of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, has been gathering momentum in Hollywood, as a financial backer and producer of Paramount Pictures' summer blockbuster, "Top Gun: Maverick," and producer of such long-running streaming series as Inc's "Reacher" and Netflix Inc's "Grace and Frankie."

Skydance has expanded its entertainment portfolio in recent years. It released its first animated film, "Luck," this summer, from an in-house studio led by Pixar Animation Studios co-founder John Lasseter, and showed off a teaser for a new game called "Behemoth" at an event this week where Meta Platforms Inc unveiled its virtual reality headset, the Quest Pro.

The studio also hired Mandalay Sports Media executive Jon Weinbach, who produced the 2020 sports documentary "The Last Dance," about Michael Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls, to head its sports division.

"All the capital is being used to fund our future growth and our emerging businesses," Ellison told Reuters.

KKR is viewed as a strategic investor, having taken stakes in such media and sports businesses as German publisher Axel Springer SE, TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd, Fortnite creator Epic Games and the sports wagering company FanDuel Inc.

The funding round also includes backing from existing investors RedBird Capital Partners and Tencent Holdings Limited and values Skydance at over $4 billion.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski)

By Dawn Chmielewski