5 Key Takeaways from Hello Sunshine’s $900 Million DealWednesday, August 4, 2021, 3:35 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Lots of industry executives’ heads snapped to attention around 10:30am Eastern Time on Tuesday when the Wall Street Journal posted exclusively that Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine was being majority acquired for $900 million by a new company being formed by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, which itself is being backed by the private equity behemoth Blackstone Group.
Mine was one of those heads snapping, for a variety of reasons. Foremost, $900 million is a whole lot of money for what on the surface seems like *basically* a production company, not to mention one that was only just started 4 1/2 years ago, which therefore means it doesn’t have a deep, monetizable library (which is what justified the recent Amazon-MGM deal). True, Ms. Witherspoon is one of the savviest players in the industry, and her Hello Sunshine business partner and company CEO Sarah Harden has strong industry experience and is also a Harvard Business School Baker Scholar (as an HBS grad myself, but far from a Baker Scholar, which is the top 5% of your 800-person class, I can personally attest that achieving that ranking puts you in the ultimate elite).
Still….$900 million? Yes, $900 million. I don’t have any insider info, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the company generates $50-$100 million of revenue in 2021, max. So the valuation is likely in the 9-18x revenue range…who knows it could even be more. That’s a rare tech industry valuation these days (for context, Roku's mighty stock has bounced around 12x revenue recently).
The WSJ reported $500 million of the $900 million will go to cash out existing investors and the balance will be retained by Ms. Witherspoon, Ms. Harden and other company executives, to be rolled over into the new company. That’s a huge tell about how big they think the resulting company can ultimately be worth and what the IPO or SPAC will look like. But that’s just part of the story….here are my 5 takeaways:
Categories: Deals & Financings
Topics: Hello Sunshine
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