Kevin Hart’s media company sells 15% stake to Abry Partners for $100 million

Hartbeat, a global multiplatform media created by comedian, Kevin Hart has raised $100 million from Abry Partners, a private equity firm in Boston. The new deal qualifies Abry to own a 15% stake in HartBeat which is more than $650 million.

Heartbeat is a result of a merger between the two businesses of the entertainer; ‘Hartbeat Production’ and ‘Laugh Out loud’ into a single entity.

According to NYTimes, the merger talk had initially been raised during a retreat in July 2021 at Los Cabos in Mexico, where both companies got reacquainted after months of remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What you should know

  • In lieu of the development, Hart, who has since controlled HartBeat will step aside as the CEO but remain the chairman of the board while the chief operating officer of both Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Productions, Thai Randolph will serve as the CEO.
  • Similarly, Bryan Smiley of Hartbeat Production will head content and Jeff Clanagan of Laugh Out Loud will be in charge of distribution as both also lead as president. Also, Leland Wigington, Hartbeat Productions co-founder will lead a new production banner under Hartbeat.
  • Abry is a private equity investment firm in North America founded in 1989 and has since completed several leveraged transactions and other private equity or preferred equity placements.

What they are saying

With new partnership, Hartbeat wants to grow the business as it looks to invest in expanding teams, accelerating growth for existing brands and franchises, connecting its global audience as well as collaborating with talents across the globe.

Speaking on the development, Hart said “The creation of HARTBEAT and our capital raise with Abry represent a new era in comedy. This all started out with a mission to keep the world laughing together and I’m so proud our teams have delivered on that, putting in the hard work to build the most innovative and inclusive comedic storytelling company.

“In an industry that loves to say no and close doors, I’ve been bullish about forging our own path and using our success to open doors for others. With this merger and funding, we’re taking the new blueprint we’ve built in entertainment to the next level and creating opportunities for a new generation of comedic talent. I can’t wait to bring the world more comedians, experiences, and stories with humour and heart.”

Thai Randolph said, “We’ve scaled our business in an ever-changing media landscape by delivering comedy to audiences wherever and whenever they want to laugh, and have demonstrated an unmatched ability to generate sales, subscriptions and eyeballs for some of the top entertainment and brand partners in the world, while driving cultural currency and conversation among some of the most coveted audiences.”

“At HARTBEAT, we’re building an end-to-end entertainment enterprise that creates, markets and distributes the most culturally relevant IP and experiences in comedy and beyond. The merger and capital raise help us further scale and invest in the future of comedic entertainment, creating more high demand content and experiences at the intersection of comedy and culture.”

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