2ND UPDATE 11:15 AM: Legendary just sent out the announcement that it has finalized an agreement to purchase Nerdist Industries.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE 9:30 AM: Legendary Entertainment heading into Comic-Con has set a new deal with multiplatform fanboy outfit Nerdist. My sources say huge comic book fan Thomas Tull will be stepping up his existing early investment in Nerdist and actually making an all-out acquisition. But co-owner Peter Levin (my pal) wouldn’t do a deal that stripped him and the other co-owner Chris Hardwick of autonomy for the editorial business. Now they will report to Legendary Entertainment COO Tim Connors. The strategy is that the addition of the Levin and Hardwick digital prowess would add more firepower to the Tull war-chest. Hardwick and Levin will continue in their current roles within Nerdist, and will also take on the roles of Co-Presidents of Legendary’s digital business with Hardwick serving as Co-President Digital Content and Levin functioning as Co-President Digital Strategy. They will work closely with Legendary’s executive management team on event management and comics-related operations. The deal calls for Nerdist to maintain complete editorial autonomy and operations, while benefitting from Legendary Entertainment’s resources and platform as the company continues to offer up quality fanboy content to audiences around the world. Nerdist was founded in 2008 by Hardwick — a comedian, author, podcaster, new media personality and AMC’s The Talking Dead host. In 2011, Nerdist and Levin’s GeekChicDaily merged to form Nerdist Industries with Hardwick serving as Founder and Chief Creative Officer while digital media entrepreneur Levin became CEO of the new company. Levin had co-founded GeekChicDaily with Mandalay Entertainment Group’s Peter Guber who was a significant shareholder in Nerdist and served as a key advisor to the group through the formation and launch.
Now Nerdist Industries is a multi-platform creator of genre and pop culture content. It has a popular website at Nerdist.com; a premium YouTube channel; a top comedy/popular culture podcast network on iTunes that is also produced as a TV show on BBC America; daily e-newsletters; a following of over 1.6 million Twitter fans; a book from The Penguin Group; and a plethora of live events. Nerdist Industries is headquartered at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood. Tull’s Legendry co-finances films with Warner Bros including the final installment of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy which debuts July 20, The Dark Knight Rises.
“We’ve been impressed with how Chris and Peter have harnessed the Nerdist platform to create and deliver high-quality, relevant content, and then develop one-on-one relationships with the fans we see as Legendary’s core psychographic,” Tull said in the Legendary statement. Added Connors: “With the acquisition, we’ll be empowered to more aggressively help Nerdist broaden their reach as an autonomous editorial brand, as well as pursue some exciting new ideas together.”
“This amazing deal allows Nerdist to not only scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined, but also to extend into film and television while symbiotically supporting Legendary’s digital strategies,” said Hardwick. “Legendary’s ‘let’s just make stuff that we really want to see exist in the world,’ philosophy is exactly aligned with ours.” Said Levin: “Legendary’s vision and trajectory as a top-down leader in providing genre-themed content to a very discriminating audience is the ideal environment for Nerdist to thrive. The fact that we can retain the independent nature of the brand while working closely with the team at Legendary is an exciting next step in the evolution of the Nerdist Industries brand.”