ATTN, social change content publisher: sold for $150 million

Candle Media, the Blackstone-backed new media deployment company led by former Disney executives Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer, is acquiring ATTN:, the digital media company that focuses on social change content for millennials and Gen Z.

Why is this important: The deal gives ATTN: capital and access to Candle’s portfolio companies and creator relationships to help the company grow. This gives Candle access to a brand that has the expertise to reach younger, socially active audiences.

Details:Sources close to the deal say Candle paid around $150 million for ATTN:. Candle paid $100 million in cash and stock and the deal could total $150 million with payments.

  • ATTN: is profitable and earns money through the licensing of original content, consultation and the production of branded content.
  • ATTN:’s existing management team, including co-founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of ATTN:. Both Segal and Moreno co-founded a nonprofit voter association called Our Time before launching ATTN:.
  • The Information reported in January that Candle and ATTN were in talks.

Be smart: ATTN:’s focus on social change has become appealing to advertisers looking to communicate their corporate social responsibility efforts through branded content.

  • Over the past few years, the advocacy advertising industry has grown significantly in response to brands wanting to speak out on issues such as climate, health and the economy during the pandemic.

Catch up fast: Founded in 2014, ATTN: has distinguished itself by focusing on videos about causes that go viral on social media.

  • These videos often feature prominent political voices, such as Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Valerie Jarrett, who sits on the board of ATTN:.
  • He recently produced a viral video for former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urging Putin to stop the war in Ukraine. The video has been viewed millions of times online and has been reposted by numerous outlets.

ATTN: enormously benefited of the wave of social good initiatives throughout the pandemic and the 2020 election.

  • The company landed a 7-figure contract with TikTok to produce videos for a new initiative called “TikTok for Good” last year. He also created a TikTok studio that brings together brands and influencers to create content for the platform.
  • It partnered with Instagram in 2020 to produce a list of memes, reels, stories and videos encouraging young people to vote.
  • ATTN: Worked with major TV networks like NBC and ABC to do live specials on topics like voting and COVID.

By the numbers: ATTN: Raised $37 million over three funding rounds, according to Crunchbase. Most of its funding comes from venture capitalists.

  • The company raised $15 million in 2018 in a round led by Evolution Media. It raised $18 million in 2016 in a round led by TPG through Evolution Media Partners.

What they say : “ATTN: Has a deep, digital-native understanding of how to cut through the noise and reach today’s audiences with engaging social media content,” Mayer and Staggs said in a statement.

  • “Partnering with Candle and their growing and talented team of creators will allow us to pursue this mission in a whole new way, accelerating our growth and reaching even more people with what we create,” said Segal and Moreno.

The big picture: This is the latest in a series of recent acquisitions by Candle to invest in companies that produce original intellectual property.

  • With backing from Blackstone, Candle has acquired film and digital production companies over the past year, including Faraway Road Productions, the content studio behind Fauda, ​​Moonbug Entertainment, a UK-based digital content company Uni who produced “Cocomelon”, and Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Hello Sunshine.
  • Earlier this year, Candle purchased a minority stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s entertainment company, Westbrook Inc.

And after: The transaction is expected to close within the next month.