Hey Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s media firm that has produced content material for streaming providers like Hulu, Apple and HBO, amongst others, has been offered to a yet-unnamed new media agency run by former Disney execs, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, the corporate introduced this morning.
The Wall St. Journal first reported on the sale.
Deal phrases weren’t formally disclosed, however reportedly, the sale values Hey Sunshine’s enterprise at round $900 million, The WSJ says. The information outlet had beforehand reported Hey Sunshine was exploring a sale after receiving curiosity from a lot of suitors, together with Apple.
Hey Sunshine was co-founded by Witherspoon and Strand Fairness founder and managing companion Seth Rodsky in 2016, and is finest recognized for producing collection like HBO’s “Large Little Lies,” Hulu’s “Little Fires All over the place,” and Apple’s “The Morning Present,” which function Witherspoon in starring roles.
However the firm has additionally invested in different movie and media initiatives, starting from Fb Watch collection to collaborations with Amazon’s Audible. It now has upcoming movie and TV initiatives on the slate with Netflix, Amazon, ABC and Starz, and not too long ago introduced a Children & Animation division in addition to the acquisition of Sara Rea’s SKR Manufacturing to develop into unscripted content material.
As well as, the corporate operates a web-based and cell e book membership app, Reese’s E book Membership, now with 2.1 million followers. The membership’s extra common picks are sometimes was the exhibits and flicks Hey Sunshine later produces.
Per Hey Sunshine’s announcement, the corporate would be the first acquisition by the brand new media enterprise run by Mayer and Staggs, which is backed by non-public fairness agency Blackstone. The agency is spending greater than $500 million in money to buy shares of Hey Sunshine from its buyers, together with AT&T and Emerson Collective, The WSJ famous.
Following the deal’s closure, the senior administration crew will proceed to run Hey Sunshine’s day-to-day operations. Witherspoon and Hey Sunshine Chief Govt Sarah Harden will be part of the board of recent firm and retain important fairness holders within the new enterprise.
Hey Sunshine will turn out to be a cornerstone of the brand new media firm’s technique, which is able to contain being an “unbiased, creator-friendly house for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining manufacturers and franchises,” it says.
“At present marks an amazing second for Hey Sunshine. I began this firm to alter the way in which all ladies are seen in media. Over the previous few years, we have now watched our mission thrive via books, TV, movie and social platforms. At present, we’re taking an enormous step ahead by partnering with Blackstone, which is able to allow us to inform much more entertaining, impactful and illuminating tales about ladies’s lives globally. I couldn’t be extra enthusiastic about what this implies for our future,” stated Witherspoon in an announcement concerning the deal.
The deal arrives at a time when there’s an uptick in consolidation taking place the media enterprise, as corporations regulate to the shift away from conventional TV and commonplace film releases to the always-on world of streaming and rope reducing. For instance, Amazon in Might introduced it will purchase MGM Studios for $8.45 billion — a deal being investigated by the FTC for potential antitrust points. In the meantime, WarnerMedia and Discovery across the similar time introduced their plans to merge operations, in hopes of taking an even bigger chew out of the streaming market. Now, Comcast and ViacomCBS are exploring methods to work collectively, too.
However as conventional media corporations start to stream, like NBCU did with Peacock, for example, additionally they pull again content material licensed to different streamers, like Netflix. That drives demand for brand spanking new sources of unbiased programming, like what Hey Sunshine produces.
The corporate’s worth on this market comes from its pipeline of high quality initiatives, a lot of that are pre-vetted by its e book membership members, who function a built-in viewers and fan base for the later movie or televised launch. Plus, the initiatives it backs are additionally those who inform ladies’s tales — a traditionally uncared for section of the market, and one which Hey Sunshine’s success proves there’s pend-up demand for amongst viewers.
Blackstone’s funding within the new firm is being made via its non-public fairness enterprise, which beforehand acquired a majority stake in courting app Bumble. Blackstone has made different leisure business investments, as properly, together with music rights group SESAC; a Hollywood studio area and Burbank workplace actual property portfolio; international theme park operator Merlin Entertainments; on-line family tree platform Ancestry.com; on-line cell advert platforms Vungle and Liftoff; and Epidemic Sound, which delivers music to web content material creators.