Aug 2, 2021 - Economy & Business

Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine production company sold for $900 million

Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images

Hello Sunshine, the Hollywood production company co-founded by Reese Witherspoon, has sold to a new, unnamed media company backed by Blackstone and led by former Disney executives Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, Hello Sunshine said Monday.

Why it matters: Hello Sunshine was one of several smaller Hollywood studios exploring opportunities to sell, given the ripe market for content firms in the streaming era.

Catch up quick: The production company was created in 2016 to tell stories about the experiences of women across all platforms — TV, film, podcasts, streaming, etc. Some of its more popular productions include shows starring Witherspoon, like “Big Little Lies,” and “The Morning Show."

  • The company's investors include AT&T (via Otter Media), Emerson Collective, Seth Rodsky and Jim Toth, Witherspoon's husband.

Details: The idea behind the new company is to roll up several media, entertainment and technology brands to take them public.

  • Hello Sunshine, will be the "initial pillar" of that rollup strategy, according to a statement. The deal enables Hello Sunshine to remain independent.
  • Hello Sunshine’s existing senior management team, including CEO Sarah Harden, will continue to oversee the company's day-to-day operations.
  • Witherspoon and Harden will remain significant equity holders in the business, per a statement. The two will join the new media company’s board.

Be smart: The deal is being backed by investment capital from Blackstone, one of the world's largest global investment firms. It is worth more than $900 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported news of the transaction.

  • Staggs and Mayer also announced last year that they had formed a special purpose acquisition firm (SPAC) Forest Road Acquisition Corp. II. This company is separate from that venture.

The big picture: Streaming has sparked a flurry of consolidation in the TV and film production space. Amazon announced in May it would acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, including debt.

  • LeBron James' entertainment firm, SpringHill Company, is exploring a sale at a possible valuation of $750 million, Axios has confirmed.
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