Reese Witherspoon Strikes a $900 Million Deal Backed by a Wall Street Megafirm

The Hollywood multihyphenate’s production company Hello Sunshine sold for a big payday to a Blackstone Group-backed company
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Producer, businesswoman, and Walk the Line Best Actress Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon can add mogul to her list of credentials. On Monday, she reached a deal to sell her Hello Sunshine production studio to an unnamed entertainment company backed by Wall Street investment firm Blackstone Group.

No financial details have been officially released but sources say Hello Sunshine went for roughly $900 million, the New York Times reports.

Witherspoon was already known worldwide for her considerable acting chops—which made a fan of Roger Ebert when she was just 15—when she started Hello Sunshine in 2016 with the goal of creating movies and TV targeting female audiences, and the success of Hello’s Emmy-winning The Morning Show at AppleTV+ and Big Little Lies for HBO proved her formidable skills as a producer.

Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden will have equity in the new venture and sit on its board while continuing to run their studio. The new company will be led by former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. Mayer was passed over to replace Bob Iger as CEO last year after 20 years at the Mouse House, and Staggs ended a 25-year run there in 2016 after one year as COO.

With Hello Sunshine as the new entity’s foundation, Mayer, Staggs and Blackstone—which boasts $684 billion in assets under management—hope to sell its wares to the content-famished world of streaming platforms while building the fledgling outfit into a stand-alone public company ripe for acquisition by an even bigger entertainment monster.

“I am deeply proud of the team that got us to this incredible moment,” Witherspoon said in a statement, “and I’m thrilled to be working with Blackstone, Kevin and Tom to grow a next-generation media company. They are committed to helping our mission to empower women and the people who celebrate them.”

Also part of the deal is Witherspoon’s two million-follower-strong Reese’s Book Club, which Harden sees playing a major role in the company’s future.

“I think you’re going to see more from us coming in sort of engagement, events, experiences and commerce that are targeted to a female consumer—and a lot centered around the lifestyle of books and reading,” she said in an interview.

Witherspoon, meanwhile, is already adding another hat to her professional collection. She just signed on to make her directorial debut with the Netflix romcom Your Place or Mine, in which she’ll star alongside Ashton Kutcher.


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