Reese Witherspoon’s Company Hello Sunshine Sold for $900 Million

Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine has been sold for north of $900 million to a media company backed by the private-equity firm Blackstone Group Inc.

Witherspoon and Sarah Harden, Hello Sunshine’s CEO, will join the board of the new company and will continue to oversee day-to-day operations. They will also remain significant equity holders.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of Hello Sunshine’s sale. The still-unnamed media venture by Blackstone will be run by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.

“Today marks a tremendous moment for Hello Sunshine,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “I started this company to change the way all women are seen in media. Over the past few years, we have watched our mission thrive through books, TV, film and social platforms. Today, we’re taking a huge step forward by partnering with Blackstone, which will enable us to tell even more entertaining, impactful and illuminating stories about women’s lives globally.”

Hello Sunshine received interest from multiple private equity companies and streamers after it began shopping itself. At one point, Apple, which produces Witherspoon’s “The Morning Show,” kicked the tires on the company, but it’s not clear how far the talks went. The sale of Hello Sunshine could spark a fresh wave of acquisitions of content companies, and comes as the likes of A24, Imagine, Legendary and Lebron James’ SpringHill Entertainment have all explored possible sales. Mayer and Staggs have been at the center of this deal-making, engaging in talks with SpringHill and Imagine as they look to roll up several smaller media companies, according to knowledgable insiders.

“We are thrilled to partner with Reese, Sarah, and the entire Hello Sunshine team,” Mayer and Staggs said. “Hello Sunshine is a perfect fit for our vision of a new, next generation entertainment, technology, and commerce company. We seek to empower creators with innovation, capital, and scale to inspire, entertain, and delight global audiences with engaging content, experiences, and products. Our platform will foster a uniquely creator-friendly culture that gives elite talent the resources they need to create and capitalize on their best, most inventive work. We look forward to backing Reese, Sarah, and their world-class team as they continue to produce and identify dynamic, engaging content for years to come.”

The price for Hello Sunshine is likely to raise some eyebrows in the entertainment industry. The company has brand recognition and a valuable celebrity ambassador in Witherspoon, but it lacks a deep library of content and only became profitable in 2020.

Hello Sunshine was founded in 2016 as a joint venture with AT&T’s Otter Media. It counts Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective among its investors. Blackstone paid more than $500 million in cash to buy shares of Hello Sunshine, according to the Journal. It’s unclear if the pact and the valuation also encompass some kind of earn-out based on meeting certain performance benchmarks.

(Excerpt) Read more in: Variety

Reese Witherspoon’s Company Hello Sunshine Sold for $900 Million

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