StyleHaul, the multichannel network for fashion and beauty enthusiasts, has been acquired by existing investor RTL Group for $107 million, valuing the Hollywood MCN at $151 million.
The European media house also provided an additional $20 million to help fund StyleHaul’s growth plan.
RTL Group last May invested $6 million to purchase a 22 percent stake in StyleHaul. Monday’s deal will increase RTL Group’s ownership to 94 percent as other StyleHaul investors RezVen Partners and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, which owns RTL Group, sold their stakes.
StyleHaul executives and employees own the remaining equity, though RTL Group has the opportunity to acquire the rest of the company under the deal’s terms. There are also earn-outs in place worth an additional $50 million depending on the performance of its business.
“This opportunity allows the unwavering passion and dedication of the StyleHaul team and ground-breaking community of influencers to accelerate all aspects of our business,” said Stephanie Horbaczewski, StyleHaul’s Chief Executive, said in a statement.
The buy doesn’t come as a huge surprise. StyleHaul’s vertically specific network and high audience engagement offered a wide range of potential revenue streams beyond just advertising. After this past year’s big MCN acquisitions – Maker Studios for $950 million and Fullscreen for an estimated $200 million to $300 million – StyleHaul was the next MCN to watch.
For RTL Group to step up from investor to acquirer is an unusual case, according to Partner Dave Young of Cooley LLP, which represented StyleHaul in the deal and also provides counsel for other MCN businesses such as media marketer Zefr and gaming network Machinima. It’s a situation that can make talks more complex due to corporate governance issues. StyleHaul’s board had to form a transaction committee that excluded RTL Group to represent the network during talks.
But the deal, which Young said began to form a few months ago, benefitted from good relations throughout StyleHaul’s directors.
“RTL Group had been a good partner,” he said.
The deal is expected to close by the end of this month.