Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine has been sold to a media company backed by the private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc for approximately $900 million. The purchase of the female-focused production company behind television hits like Big Little Lies aims to break into Hollywood’s fast-expanding streaming market.
Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine’s CEO Sarah Harden will join the board of the new company and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations. They will also remain significant equity holders. The news of Hello Sunshine’s sale was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The still-unnamed media venture by Blackstone will be run by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.
Speaking to Variety, Sarah Harden said she is thrilled with this new structure and what it means for Hello Sunshine going forward as the company has an incredibly ambitious growth agenda ahead. Reese Witherspoon addressed the sale in an enthusiastic post on Instagram:
“Today marks a tremendous moment for Hello Sunshine. 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.”
The Little Fires Everywhere star said that she couldn’t be more excited about what this means for the future. Reese Witherspoon remains committed to creating opportunities for filmmakers, authors, and creators of all backgrounds and experiences to tell their stories in their own way, and reach more people who will see that their stories matter. “I am deeply proud of the team that got us to this incredible moment, and I’m thrilled to be working with Blackstone,” she added.
Hello Sunshine was founded in 2016 as a joint venture with AT&T’s Otter Media, with Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective among its investors. According to Variety, Blackstone paid more than $500 million in cash to buy shares of Hello Sunshine. It’s unclear if the pact and the valuation also encompasses an earn-out based on meeting certain performance benchmarks.
Hello Sunshine is home to films like Gone Girl and Wild. It has produced popular series such as The Morning Show, Big Little Lies, and Little Fires Everywhere. The company also features Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. Additionally, Hello Sunshine has recently ventured into podcasting and family entertainment, with an upcoming slate of unannounced kids programming that it will produce for streamers.
The deal comes as multiple Hollywood giants compete to expand their streaming services, with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video eager for new content. Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is currently working on a few feature films. The list includes Legally Blonde 3 and an adaptation of the best-selling novel Where The Crawdads Sing, which was boosted by its selection on the actress’s book club.
Meanwhile, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are reportedly targeting further purchases of content creators to build an independent, creator-friendly home for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining brands and franchises, joining a fiercely competitive market. In May, Amazon agreed to buy MGM studios for $8.45 billion, giving the tech giant a vast content library to further its ambitions in streaming.
Reese Witherspoon is currently working on a variety of new projects. The actress will produce and star in three Netflix films. Pyros, a science fiction drama directed by Simon Kinberg, and two romantic comedies on Netflix. She is also producing two films – A White Lie starring Zendaya, and a documentary about tennis legend Martina Navratilova.