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Monday, May 29, 2023

Reese Witherspoon Sells Production Company for $900 Million

Hollywood hyphenate and Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon has agreed to sell her Playa Vista-based media company, Hello Sunshine, for more than $900 million to a new company backed by private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc.

The deal, which was announced Aug. 2, came after interest from multiple companies in Witherspoon’s production business, which develops films, TV series and digital content.

The Blackstone-backed company making the acquisition is run by former Walt Disney Co. executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.

Hello Sunshine Chief Executive Sarah Harden will join Witherspoon on the board of the yet-to-be-named holding company and will continue to oversee day-to-day operations.

“Today marks a tremendous moment for Hello Sunshine,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “I started this company to change the way all women are seen in media. Over the past few years, we have watched our mission thrive through books, TV, film and social platforms. Today, we’re taking a huge step forward by partnering with Blackstone, which will enable us to tell even more entertaining, impactful and illuminating stories about women’s lives globally.”

Mayer and Staggs spoke to Variety about the venture, which they said exemplifies the kinds of acquisitions Blackstone aims to make with its reported $2 billion in financing.
Mayer and Staggs did not reveal other targets for acquisition, but other media outlets have reported conversations between the company and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, as well as LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Co. production banner.

“We want companies that are producing meaningful, category-defining content brands that resonate with their chosen audiences. We want to do that across multiple audience (sectors),” Mayer told Variety.

“There are a lot of those companies out there that would benefit from additional size and scale and to be linked up with like-minded media companies that have must-have content. We think there’s a big revenue lift that will come from tying some great companies together,” he added.

Hello Sunshine was created to generate content by and for women, and it has assembled a small but impressive list of projects.

Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based reporter and film critic with 20+ years of experience at dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.

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