Sony Pictures TV recently shopped a 51% stake in Crackle — hoping to raise $100 million that one exec said could “save the year” for the online service — according to a Bloomberg report based on emails obtained and released by hackers. One email that Crackle GM Eric Berger sent on November 3 mentioned talks with Evolution Media Capital.
The company received, and turned down, offers to buy all of Crackle, we’re told. Instead, execs wanted to sell a majority stake to raise cash for programming, marketing, and to boost profits.
Worldwide Networks president Andy Kaplan wrote on August 1 that if a deal valued Crackle at $200 million then a sale of 51% would raise $100 million “and probably more importantly, book a gain of something like $125 mil. Save the year.” The company paid $65 million in 2006 for the service, then called Grouper.
It originally featured action films and TV shows from Sony’s library. Berger recently told my colleague David Bloom that Crackle now is “both a studio and a network,” that blends vintage shows and films with original content from Sony and other providers including Lionsgate, Fox, MGM, Universal, Snag Films and Toei. Although Berger didn’t disclose financial data about its performance, he said that “We’re very happy with the financials for us. We’re a meaningful part of Sony Pictures TV‘s business. TV is not going away, but [streaming] is a meaningful new part of that business.”