The partners aren’t saying how much they’re kicking in, but the global venture will invest “primarily in sports and entertainment related media assets.” They’re targeting growth equity investments of as much as $50M in private companies and, they add, “have the capacity to make larger investments as needed.” They see “many traditional and digital media properties that complement the NFL‘s business and can add lasting value,” says Providence Senior Managing Director Paul Salem. Each will own equity in the partnership and run it jointly. Providence has a lot of experience in media; it was a major investor in Hulu, the YES Network and Warner Music and backs Univision and The Chernin Group. “We selected Providence as our partner because they share our vision of the opportunities and bring exceptional experience and relationships in the industry,” NFL exec Eric Grubman says. “Together we will focus on innovative media assets that create meaningful value for both the business of the NFL and our fans.”
The deal removes the leading non-broadcaster force at the video streaming company that’s controlled by Disney and News Corp and includes NBCUniversal, according to reports in TechCrunch and Bloomberg. Hulu’s said to have borrowed the cash to repurchase Providence Equity’s shares, which it bought in 2007 for $100M. Its deal gave it the right to sell the holdings back to Hulu for twice what it paid if the video company failed to sell itself or go public. Hulu considered an IPO in 2010, and flirted with a possible sale last year. Providence’s exit will free some Hulu employees, including CEO Jason Kilar, to sell out — and Bloomberg says that “separately” from the Providence deal, Kilar will receive $40M.
The latest news is consistent with the widely held belief that his days at Hulu are numbered. A story in FastCompany this week said that Kilar “now appears to be on the verge of being dispatched by his bosses–after which they may dismantle much of what he’s created at Hulu.” According to a leaked transition plan, the company may double the number of ads on the Fox shows that appear on Hulu, although not Hulu Plus. In addition, the networks are considering letting Google’s YouTube — which has far more viewers — have the same access to their current-season shows that they now provide to Hulu. Disney and News Corp control the board. Although NBCU is …
Newport is Providence Equity’s holding company for the collection of TV stations the private equity firm bought in 2007 from Clear Channel. Investors seem to like Nexstar’s $285.5M agreement today for 12 Newport stations; Nexstar shares are +5.2% at mid-day. Sinclair is more complicated: In addition to the $412.5M it’s paying for six Newport stations, Sinclair agreed today to pay $40M for Tampa-based Bay Television. Sinclair shares are -1.6%. Privately held Cox is paying $302M for its four stations.
Here’s the release:
Providence Equity Partners’ 10% stake in Hulu is close to being bought out by co-owners Disney and and News Corp, Bloomberg is reporting. The deal is for $200 million after the private equity group invested $100 million in 2007 and values the company at $2 billion, according to Bloomberg’s sources. If true, Providence will have pulled out its profit from the deal that it otherwise might have received via an auction that was scrapped in October due to low bids (. At the time, the was talk about taking Hulu public (a previous offering plan was put on hold), but there hasn’t been much chatter since.
Longtime Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin‘s indie company has just received a new infusion of capital to help with his goal of expanding into a global media company “across all fronts with this additional expertise and resources”. Led by Providence Equity Partners, the investors are taking what’s being called a “significant minority equity stake” in his television/movie/Internet company The Chernin Group. The official announcement will be made Monday morning. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Deadline has learned the investment is $200M. Chernin and Providence CEO Jonathan Nelson became chummy while they worked together to establish the online video site Hulu as a joint venture with NBCUniversal. The pair tell the Financial Times they also looked at making a bid for Yahoo together over a year — but then decided against it. They say the new partnership would have the resources to pursue “any deal of any size” around the world, from making multibillion-dollar bids to incubating start-ups. And they say their first deals are “very close” and could be announced within weeks.
Yahoo has fielded offers this week from at least three bidders seeking a stake of about 20% of the company, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported, and the company’s directors will likely discuss those offers at a regularly scheduled board meeting Wednesday in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bidders include private-equity firm TPG Capital and a group consisting of Silver Lake Partners, Microsoft Corp. and others. Separately the Chinese online company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Softbank Corp. are looking to buy back Yahoo’s 40% stake in Alibaba and 35% stake in Yahoo Japan, sources said. Yahoo is also expected to receive an update on a continuing strategic review of the company at Wednesday’s board meeting. Yahoo would like to strike a deal on the minority stake sale by the end of the year, but failing that alternatives will be considered. The bids received this week place a per-share value on Yahoo of between $16 and $18, the sources said. Yahoo seeks a slightly higher price. The aforementioned firms have signed confidentiality agreements that limit their potential purchase to a minority stake. Bain, Blackstone and other firms including Providence Equity Partners and Hellman & Friedman have not signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo because it would prevent them from going after the whole company. Additionally, Thomas H. Lee Partners is investigating an offer for Yahoo’s U.S. operations such as Yahoo Finance and Yahoo News and an Internet advertising business, other people familiar …
UPDATE: Today News Corporation, Providence Equity Partners, The Walt Disney Company, and the Hulu senior management team issued a joint statement that it was terminating the sale of Hulu. ”We look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success.” (Full statement below.) So what went wrong? A lot of things. But people close to the process tell me that one problem was particularly difficult to overcome: Comcast, Disney, and News Corp could never agree on the scope of the programming they were willing to offer someone buying Hulu. This was especially true for advertising supported VOD, the kind of service that Hulu offers now. Hulu simply wasn’t worth much if the sellers wouldn’t throw in exclusive rights to stream popular first-run shows. Sources tell me that Disney was more open to offering hit programming, and therefore to a Hulu sale, than News Corp was — even though News Corp’s digital chief Jon Miller was the point person in wrangling the bids. (Comcast had to give up its vote at Hulu to win federal approval for its acquisition of NBCUniversal.)
As far as the actual bidding, Dish Network was willing to bargain but offered less than the $2B that the sellers wanted. Google was willing to pay a lot more, only if it included lots of exclusive programming guarantees. But the thing to remember is that all three of Hulu’s main backers collect a lot of cash from cable channels …
News Corp COO Chase Carey said during the company’s conference call Wednesday that the ongoing Hulu auction is “progressing largely as planned,” but for the most part streaming-video site co-owners News Corp, Disney, Comcast and Providence Equity Partners have been mum about the sale process. Today come reports that shed a little light: AllThingsD quotes sources saying that the auction closes at the end of next week and that bids of “at least” $1.5 billion are expected. That doesn’t fully jibe with a Bloomberg report last month that said Apple was pondering an offer that could come to more than $2 billion. The discrepancy could be due to questions about exactly what’s for sale: News Corp owns the website, which the might want to hold onto; the current ownership group could retain a stake, which could drive down the price; and the new owners might want to extend current content agreements, which also could affect the final price. Meanwhile, Yahoo, Amazon, Google and Microsoft also are thought to be considering bids. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Now the story’s been debunked.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting tonight that Hasbro is in preliminary talks with Providence Equity Partners about a leveraged buyout. Hasbro has a market capitalization of about $6 billion. It owns the G.I. Joe and Transformers and Stretch Armstrong toys sold to Hollywood, has several board games like Battleship in movie development, and even has its own office on the Universal lot. In all it has more than 10 films in the works with different movie studios and a cable channel The Hub in partnership with Discovery Communications.