Hearst, the media company that made a prescient investment in ESPN in 1990, has acquired a 25% stake in another property it hopes has massive growth ahead: DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV, the YouTube network. The deal values Awesomeness at $325 million.
AwesomenessTV, which operates a network of YouTube channels with more than 114 million subscribers, will use the $81.25 million investment to fund international expansion and video production.
Hearst joins a teeming crowd of media companies investing in online video networks. The Walt Disney Co. acquired Maker Studios for $500 million in May while Time Warner's Warner Bros. owns a minority stake in Machinima. DreamWorks Animation, run by CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, acquired AwesomenessTV in 2013 for $33 million.
"There is an amazing amount of intellectual property and synergy in things we can do, ways they can grow our brands," AwesomenessTV CEO Robbins said. "Look at their brands. There are so many ways for Hearst to help us grow as a company."
Hearst struck its deal for a 20% stake in ESPN in 1990, with a price tag reported at $167 million to $175 million. That stake is now valued at more than $10 billion. The company also co-owns A&E Networks with Walt Disney Co.
~ Bloomberg News ~