Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Sold to New Blackstone Backed Media Company

The media company is behind several of the actress’ recent television projects, such as “Big Little Lies”, “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Morning Show”. The business also includes Reese’s Book Club. Witherspoon launched the company in 2016 as a joint venture with AT&T (T). (CNN is a division of WarnerMedia, which is owned by AT&T.)
The Hello Sunshine Buyer is a new media company backed by private equity firm Blackstone and run by the former Disney (SAY) executives Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer. Witherspoon and the current senior management of Hello Sunshine remain and will continue to lead the business. Witherspoon and CEO Sarah Harden are also joining the board of directors of the new company, whose name has not been released. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I couldn’t be more excited about what this means for our future,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “I am committed to continuing to create the opportunity for filmmakers, writers and creators of all backgrounds and experiences to tell their stories their way and to reach more audiences who will see their stories matter.”
The Wall Street Journal first broke news of the sale and estimated the value of the transaction to Hello Sunshine at $ 900 million. Last month, The Journal reported that the company was exploring a sale and had garnered the interest of several potential buyers, including Apple (AAPL).

“Hello Sunshine fits perfectly with our vision for a new, next-generation entertainment, technology and commerce company,” Staggs and Mayer said in a joint statement. “We seek to empower creators to innovate, capitalize and evolve to inspire, entertain and delight global audiences with engaging content, experiences and products. ”

AT&T and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, who was an investor in Hello Sunshine, did not respond to requests for comment.

Hello Sunshine is one of several celebrity-run media companies. Basketball star LeBron James launched SpringHill Co. last year, which includes entertainment companies SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted LLC. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith co-founded Westbrook Inc., which the Journal says also sparked interest from Staggs and Mayer.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that the movie “Wild” was produced by Hello Sunshine. Reese Witherspoon produced the film before founding the company.


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