PROPAGATE ACQUIRES ELECTUS AND MAJORITY INTEREST IN
ARTISTS FIRST TO EXPAND ITS GLOBAL FILM AND TELEVISION STUDIO
October 30, 2018 (Los Angeles) - Propagate, one of the world's fastest-growing independent content creation and distribution companies, has acquired Electus, the independent production and distribution company initially founded by Ben Silverman, and a majority interest in powerhouse talent management and production firm Artists First from IAC (NASDAQ: IAC) to expand its full-service global studio. The deal combines Electus' popular content, international sales division and valuable library and Artists First's impressive talent roster and hit shows with Propagate's already robust content creation capabilities and strategic relationships. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Run by CEO Chris Grant and COO Drew Buckley, Electus produces and distributes series including "Running Wild with Bear Grylls" for NBC, "The Toy Box" for ABC, "Jane the Virgin" for The CW and extreme reality series "Darkness" for Discovery. The company also contains production companies Big Breakfast ("Adam Ruins Everything," "Hot Date") and Notional, producer of the hugely popular "Chopped" cooking show franchise on Food Network. Global distribution division Electus International represents more than 4,000 hours of content sold to more than 220 countries around the world. Electus also produces and distributes original online content and creates marketing and media campaigns for leading brands and advertisers. The company was founded by Propagate Chairman and Co-CEO Ben Silverman with the backing of IAC in 2009. He left Electus in 2016 to found Propagate with Co-CEO Howard T. Owens.
Artists First, led by Peter Principato and his highly talented management team, has become a formidable player in the management and production business. The company produces the hit ABC comedy "Black-ish" and Freeform spinoff "Grown-ish," TBS' "The Last O.G." and ABC's "The Gong Show." Artists First's client roster includes such red-hot performers and creators as Will Arnett, Jordan Peele, Ed Helms, Tiffany Haddish, Awkwafina, F. Gary Gray, John Chu, Ike Barinholtz, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michael Showalter, Kate McKinnon, Judy Greer, Neil Marshall, Regina Hall and Kenya Barris. Founded in 2001, the company has offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
"At Propagate, we are focused on building premium content with the best creative voices from around the world, and being able to support the growth of Electus and all of its partnerships is incredibly exciting to us," said Propagate Co-CEOs Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, in a joint statement. "We have had the privilege of working closely with Peter Principato and his team of world-class executives and managers at Artists First and we are looking forward to deeper collaboration as we build an enterprise for the next phase of content creation and distribution. Barry Diller is an incredible entrepreneur who has consistently supported us throughout our careers."
"We are extremely excited to be reunited with Ben and to be part of what he and Howard are building at Propagate," said Electus' Chris Grant and Drew Buckley. "This new platform will provide the scale and financing necessary to be a leader in today's global content marketplace."
"On behalf of the Artists First Partners, we are thrilled to team back up with Ben and join forces with Howard and the Propagate team," said Artists First CEO Peter Principato. "Our management and production capabilities seamlessly integrate within the structure of Propagate, representing a fantastic opportunity for our company, our clients and the industry as a whole."
IAC Chairman and Senior Executive Barry Diller said, "It's nice to see that Ben Silverman, who created Electus for IAC in 2009, has now purchased the company from us. We wish him the best for its future."
The acquisitions were financed through a significant investment secured earlier this year from global merchant bank The Raine Group to accelerate Propagate's global growth through new ventures and targeted acquisitions. A+E Networks, an early investor, also owns a stake in Propagate.
Today's announcement comes just weeks after Propagate announced it had entered into a development and producing partnership with Authentic Talent & Literary Management overseen by award-winning filmmaker and novelist Galt Niederhoffer (The Kids are Alright, Poison). As part of this transaction, Propagate will also acquire a minority interest in Authentic.
The deal was negotiated by Propagate President Greg Lipstone along with Propagate's Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development Kelly Fancher. The Raine Group was an advisor on the transaction. IAC was represented by Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, P.C.
Ben Silverman and Howard Owens met at William Morris in the late 1990's where Silverman had pioneered the global format business by packaging and bringing to America a stream of hits including "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", "Big Brother", and "Queer As Folk". Silverman and Owens founded Reveille in 2002 with the mission to build an independent American alternative studio based on the concept of creating and producing culture defining television. With hits like "The Office", "The Tudors," "Ugly Betty", "MasterChef", and many others, Reveille became the gold standard of American independent television studios. Silverman and Owens founded Propagate in 2015 as a creatively led, independent content studio inspired to create and influence culture. With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Paris, and more soon to be announced, Propagate is one of the world's fastest-growing independent premium content creation companies. Propagate's emerging portfolio includes "November 13: Attack on Paris" for Netflix, "Lore" for Amazon, "Charmed" for the CW, "Haunted" for Netflix, "In Search Of" for The History Channel, "Planet of the Apps" for Apple, with much more on the way.
Electus is a full-service production studio that creates, produces and sells domestically and internationally a broad range of scripted and unscripted entertainment and branded content to broadcast, cable and digital/OTT platforms around the world. With talent, production and distribution under one roof, the company's hit series include "Running Wild with Bear Grylls" (NBC), "The Toy Box" (ABC), "Jane the Virgin" (The CW), "Flaked" (Netflix) and "Darkness," (Discovery).
About Artists First
Artists First is one of the most respected production and talent management companies in the entertainment industry. Founded in 2000 as Principato-Young Entertainment, the recently rebranded Artists First is an Emmy Award(R)-winning production and management company boasting one of the most diverse and talented client rosters in the business. The company's television production business currently produces "Black-ish" (ABC), "The Gong Show" (ABC), "Grown-Ish" (Freeform), "Hot Date" (Pop) and "The Last O.G." (TBS). Artists First is also now in production on the feature film Limited Partners, starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne, for Paramount. It previously produced the hit films Central Intelligence, Keanu, and most recently, A Futile and Stupid Gesture (Netflix).
About A+E Networks
A+E Networks(R) is a global content company comprised of some of the most popular and culturally relevant brands in media including A&E(R), Lifetime(R), HISTORY(R), Lifetime Movies, FYI(TM), VICELAND(R), Blaze(TM) and Crime+Investigation(R). A+E Networks' portfolio extends across platforms and genres, with a long-form production division, A+E Studios(TM); film division, A&E IndieFilms(R); full-service digital storytelling hub, 45th & Dean(TM); strategic investment division, A+E Ventures(TM); and A+E Digital(R), encompassing watch apps, games and SVOD initiatives including Lifetime Movie Club and HISTORY Vault. A+E Networks' channels and branded programming reach more than 335 million households in over 200 territories in 42 languages. A+E Networks has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Singapore. A+E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aenetworks and Facebook at facebook.com/AENetworks
About The Raine Group
The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications. The firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, and Mumbai. With a global reach, Raine focuses on investment and advisory opportunities where its deep industry experience and unique network of strategic relationships can create value for portfolio companies and clients. For more information, visit www.raine.com.
IAC (NASDAQ: IAC) builds great companies. We are guided by perpetual curiosity, a constant questioning of the status quo, and an insatiable desire to invent or acquire new products and brands. From the single seed that started as IAC over two decades ago have emerged 10 public companies and generations of exceptional leaders, with more in the wings. IAC today operates Vimeo, Dotdash, The Daily Beast and Investopedia, among many others, and also has majority ownership of both Match Group, which includes Match, Tinder, PlentyOfFish, and OkCupid, and ANGI Homeservices, which includes HomeAdvisor, Angie's List and Handy. The company is headquartered in New York City and has business operations and satellite offices worldwide.