Relativity Makes Rich Bid for Fullscreen

2:40 PM PST 05/01/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
Courtesy of Fullscreen
George Strompolos

The Culver City multichannel network recently signed Grace Helbig to its roster of YouTube talent.

It looks like Relativity Media has moved on after being spurned by Maker Studios last month. The Ryan Kavanaugh-led studio has made a rich offer of up to nearly $1 billion for YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen, according to multiple sources. 

One source says the base offer is for $350 million plus a $400 million earnout, while another says that the total offer would near $1 billion if certain earnings targets are met. 

A spokeswoman for Fullscreen declined to comment on the offer, which is said to be one of several overtures the company is mulling. CEO George Strompolos previously told THR that the company has "received some inbound interest and will take all M&A conversations seriously, but we are not actively pursuing a sale. Our plan is to keep building a strong business the way we know how."

Relativity declined to comment. 

The Culver City-based firm, which produces digital content and acts as a management agency for YouTube talent, has been a hot commodity since the up-to-$950 million sale of Maker Studios to Disney in March. Sources say that NBCUniversal -- whose parent company is a Fullscreen investor through Comcast Ventures -- has been circling Fullscreen as well. 

Re/Code reported Wednesday that Fullscreen has hired Allen & Co. to help it sort through its various offers. 

Relativity made headlines in April with an eleventh-hour attempt to acquire Maker after Disney already had zeroed in on the company. The bid was worth $525 million in stock and cash with as much as $500 million in performance bonuses and $75 million to retain key executives, according to a source. Maker later rejected the bid, announcing that its board and shareholders had already voted to approve its sale to Disney for $500 million with another $450 million in earnouts.

A source close to the deal told THR at the time that Relativity had no discussions with Maker prior to submitting its Sunday night bid, indicating that the bid may have been a stunt to showcase its interest in the YouTube space. 

After Maker rejected the bid, Relativity said it would "aggressively explore future opportunities that align with our strategy to accelerate digital content creation and distribution."

Fullscreen's YouTube network reaches 365 million subscribers and generates 3 billion views each month. The company recently signed Grace Helbig, who has more than 1.7 million subscribers, to its roster of talent. 

AdAge first reported that Relativity was circling Fullscreen

Email:Natalie.Jarvey@THR.com
Twitter: @NatJarv

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