Reese Witherspoon to Promote Hiya Sunshine to Wall Road-Backed Enterprise

Reese Witherspoon to Promote Hiya Sunshine to Wall Road-Backed Enterprise

Reese Witherspoon, the Oscar-winning actor who grew to become a pressure in Hollywood as a producer and entrepreneur, reached an settlement on Monday to promote her leisure studio, Hiya Sunshine, to a newly created firm backed by the funding agency Blackstone Group.

Phrases of the sale weren’t disclosed. Three folks with information of the settlement, talking on the situation of anonymity to explain the negotiations, mentioned the deal valued Hiya Sunshine at roughly $900 million.

Ms. Witherspoon began Hiya Sunshine in 2016 with the thought of making motion pictures and exhibits centered on ladies. The corporate gained momentum on the energy of two of its Emmy-winning collection, “The Morning Present” for AppleTV+ and “Massive Little Lies” for HBO. With the almost $1 billion settlement, Ms. Witherspoon is transferring past the roles that made her well-known — in movies like “Legally Blonde,” “Wild,” “Stroll the Line” and “Election” — and into the ranks of Hollywood’s energy brokers.

Ms. Witherspoon and Hiya Sunshine’s chief government, Sarah Harden, will sit on the board of the Blackstone-backed firm, which might be led by two former high-level Walt Disney Firm executives, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. Ms. Witherspoon and Ms. Harden could have fairness within the new firm, which doesn’t but have a reputation, and can proceed to run Hiya Sunshine.

“I’m deeply pleased with the workforce that bought us to this unimaginable second,” Ms. Witherspoon mentioned in an announcement, “and I’m thrilled to be working with Blackstone, Kevin, and Tom to develop a subsequent technology media firm. They’re dedicated to serving to our mission to empower ladies and the individuals who rejoice them.”

Blackstone struck an settlement to work with Mr. Mayer and Mr. Staggs in December, they usually have been searching for acquisitions since then. With Hiya Sunshine as a cornerstone, Blackstone, Mr. Staggs and Mr. Mayer plan to construct an impartial media firm meant to make the most of the ravenous urge for food for content material at a time when Netflix, Apple, Disney and Amazon are prepared to pay huge cash for the subsequent streaming hit. Long term, Blackstone views it as a possible stand-alone public firm or acquisition goal for an leisure large.

“There’s a seemingly countless variety of streaming companies, all in want of content material — and in order that mega-trend we consider is long-dated and actually important,” mentioned Joe Baratta, the worldwide head of personal fairness at Blackstone. “And so we’ve been looking for a few years, actually, easy methods to capitalize on that for our buyers.”

Hiya Sunshine can also be the house of Reese’s E book Membership, which has greater than two million followers and a corresponding app. Ms. Harden, the chief government, mentioned in an interview that books may very well be a giant a part of a transfer into commerce.

“I believe you’re going to see extra from us coming in type of engagement, occasions, experiences and commerce which can be focused to a feminine client — and rather a lot centered across the life-style of books and studying,” Ms. Harden mentioned.

For Mr. Mayer and Mr. Staggs, the Blackstone-backed media firm, with Hiya Sunshine at its middle, means a return to leisure.

Mr. Mayer, who helped engineer Disney’s purchases of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm throughout his greater than 20 years on the firm, was as soon as seen as a candidate to succeed to Robert A. Iger as Disney’s chief government. He was handed over in 2020, when the corporate chosen the top of its theme parks division, Bob Chapek. Mr. Mayer went on to be the chief government of TikTok, solely to resign from that job after three months.

Mr. Staggs, who spent greater than 25 years at Disney, was one other onetime inheritor obvious to Mr. Iger. He left Disney in 2016, after a yr as its chief working officer.

Edmund Lee contributed reporting.

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