Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon’s Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal
A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn’t even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine, a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al.
- Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture that’s backed by investment capital from Blackstone, the private equity giant. The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.
- As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture.
- Officially, the deal’s financial terms weren’t disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it’s a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn to purchase shares from existing Hello Sunshine investors such as AT&T Inc and Emerson Collective, while Witherspoon and other anchor shareholders roll over and retain their shares.
- Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 along with a business partner, Seth Rodsky, as a joint venture with AT&T’s Otter Media subsidiary. Under her oversight, the media firm has produced a series of content distributed mainly on streaming platforms.
- Surely, Witherspoon is carving out her slice of the online video streaming boom, as she’s produced and sold content to streaming services including Hulu, AppleTV+, and HBO Max. These are companies ready to spend the dough in the video streaming race against incumbent Netflix and newer rivals of their kind.
- With a $900mn deal, Witherspoon is the latest entertainment bigwig to find treasures in the current era of video streaming. Another may soon join her, this time basketballer Lebron James whose SpringHill media company is reportedly in sale talks at a valuation hitting $750mn.
- With backing from Blackstone, a private equity firm with over $600bn of capital, it’s no surprise that a newly-formed media venture can afford to buy Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. But mind you, this is no run-of-the-mill media company, it’s one run by Tom Staggs, an ex Disney COO, and Kevin Mayer, an ex Disney EVP and short-lived CEO of TikTok.