Sources with knowledge of the process indicated it appears to be gaining momentum, but they did not specify the size of the stake or the total amount of the investment. When word surfaced earlier this year that SpringHill was in play, its valuation was pegged at about $750 million.
RedBird Capital has taken part in a string of sports media deals, including the YES network acquisition and Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia’s purchase of the XFL. It is also an investor in Skydance, a prolific film and TV production outfit. Other entities in the mix to be part of the new investment in SpringHill include Nike and Fenway Sports Group.
People familiar with the negotiations expect James and Carter to remain in control of the company, but the discussions are an effort to tap a surging M&A market for fresh resources. A wide range of content suppliers are entertaining offers amid favorable market conditions, among them Imagine Entertainment and Will and Jada Pinket Smith’s Westbrook Inc. Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine was acquired over the summer by a new entity led by former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. The same company that is said to be in talks to buy control of Westbrook.
Last year, SpringHill Entertainment, athlete empowerment entity Uninterrupted and the Robot Co. marketing agency were united into a single SpringHill-branded entity. It raised $100 million in funding from investors including Guggenheim Partners and the University of California.
James starred in and produced a remake of Space Jam, a summer release faring fairly well for Warner Bros with more than $150 million at the global box office. As important, if not more so, than its theatrical performance has been its role in driving subscriptions to HBO Max, the streaming service where it played alongside theaters for its first month of release.
SpringHill’s operations span branded content, marketing services, podcasts, and scripted and unscripted film and TV projects. The company’s board includes Elisabeth Murdoch, Serena Williams and several other notable finance and business figures.
Following up on Space Jam, SpringHill has a new take on House Party set up at New Line and Hustle at Netflix, a movie starring Adam Sandler.
Sportico, Deadline’s sister publication, had the first report on the new investment round.