Peter Chernin, AT&T to Buy Majority Stake in YouTube Network Fullscreen

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Peter Chernin

Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos will continue to run the firm

Peter Chernin's The Chernin Group and AT&T have finalized a deal to acquire a majority stake in YouTube network Fullscreen.

The companies are handling the deal, which is expected to close in the next month, via their joint venture Otter Media. Financial details weren't disclosed, but the deal is believed to value the company at between $200 million and $300 million

The deal is Chernin Group’s second with Fullscreen. In 2013, the company and Comcast led a $30 million investment in the online firm.

Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, who started the company after working at Google’s YouTube, will continue to run Fullscreen and will retain a "meaningful" stake, the companies said.

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Otter Media was established by AT&T and Chernin Group to invest in, acquire and launch over-the-top video services.

Fullscreen, founded in January 2011, works with more than 50,000 content creators who engage 450 million subscribers and generate 4 billion monthly views. Fullscreen says it has been consistently ranked as a leading YouTube partner network.

"Our relationship with George started over three years ago when he launched Fullscreen in our offices," said Chernin, the former right-hand man of Rupert Murdoch at the pre-split News Corp. “We’re thrilled to be working with him and his management team in this next chapter for the company. Fullscreen’s support for content creators, its relationship with YouTube and its passion for delivering entertainment to youth audiences around the world are extremely appealing to us.”

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Strompolos said: “This is a huge win for Fullscreen and our creators. Peter Chernin, Jesse Jacobs and the entire team at The Chernin Group have supported our vision since day one. With AT&T as a strategic investor in Otter Media, we are well positioned to redefine youth media in today’s digital-first world. We could not ask for a better opportunity.” In a blog post, he called the deal "Fullscreen's next episode."

With more than 200 employees worldwide, Fullscreen's talent roster includes the Fine Bros., Connor Franta, O2L, Andrea Russett, Lohanthony, Devin Supertramp and Jack and Jack.

Fullscreen has been seen as a takeover candidate ever since Walt Disney bought Maker Studios in a deal worth $500 million-$950 million, depending on whether the company can reach certain operating targets. Yahoo, NBCUniversal, Time Warner and Relativity Media were all reported to be circling the company.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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