By Sahil Patel
RTL, which previously invested $6 million in StyleHaul, has agreed to pay $107 million to grow its stake in StyleHaul from 22.3% to 93.6%. This values the MCN at $151.4 million, the broadcaster said. Under the terms of the deal, RTL will also retain the right to acquire the remaining equity, which is currently controlled by StyleHaul management and other staff.
Additionally, the two companies have agreed to certain earn-outs that might increase the value of the company, but that will be dependent on future performance. RTL has also greed to put another $20 million into StyleHaul to fund the company’s growth plan.
Altogether, StyleHaul had raised $17 million from investors that included RTL Group, Bertelsmann, which itself owns a majority stake in RTL, RezVen, and Allen DeBevoise* and Aaron DeBevoise, who also serve as StyleHaul co-founders.
The acquisition is expected to close by the end of November. It continues RTL’s investment in the larger online video space, and especially in North America. Previously, the broadcaster has pumped $36 million into Vancouver-based MCN BroadbandTV, and spent $144 million to acquire a majority stake in US-based video-ad tech startup SpotXchange.
“The acquisition of StyleHaul is another major strategic step in developing RTL Group into a global powerhouse in the rapidly growing market for online video,” said RTL Group co-CEOs Anke Schaferkordt and Guillaume de Posch in a joint statement. “With its strong advertising sales team, impressive track record in producing web content, and the synergy potential with RTL Group’s broadcasters and producers, StyleHaul has the ideal foundations for continued strong growth.”
On the latter front, the co-CEOs are referring to StyleHaul’s existing relationship with FremantleMedia, a subsidiary of RTL Group that the MCN has a development and production partnership with.
Founded in 2011 by Stephanie Horbaczewski, StyleHaul has grown to 900 million views per month on YouTube. The company is but the latest in the MCN space to sell to a traditional-media giant in 2014, following the acquisitions of Maker Studios and Fullscreen by Disney and Otter Media, respectively. Collective Digital Studio, another major MCN in this world, also sold a minority stake to German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1.
* You know the score: Allen DeBevoise is an investor in VideoInk.