Feel-good content prodco and distributor Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has acquired A Plus, the digital media firm co-founded by Ashton Kutcher, in a US$15 million cash and stock transaction.
A Plus serves as a social and mobile-first platform specializing in positive journalism and “delivers video stories that bring people together”. The company generated 4.8 billion video views over the last year and has a social media presence with 2.9 million followers.
The deal comes more than two years after CSS Entertainment obtained majority ownership of the Kutcher-led company, which was launched in 2014.
The acquisition has further deepened CSS Entertainment’s longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with Kutcher. The two parties are currently working together with Matador Content on the unscripted financial series Going From Broke (10 x 30 minutes; previously titled The Fixer), which Kutcher executive produces.
As part of the agreement, CSS Entertainment has acquired all the outstanding shares of common stock, including those of Kutcher who will receive approximately 350,000 shares of CSS Entertainment stock and cash.
CSS Entertainment chairman and CEO William J. Rouhana Jr. said the transaction is expected to result in cost savings of $5 million throughout the current year due to the elimination of video view distribution and will enhance the company’s ability to ratchet up its original series output.
“Our historic relationship with A Plus has greatly benefited our company as we used A Plus’s ability to generate video views to help attract major advertisers to sponsor our television series. As we ramp up series production, we expect to rely even more heavily on the A Plus distribution capability,” said Rouhana in a statement.
“The net result of this transaction is the elimination of current liabilities and intercompany transactions, offsetting any cash considerations,” he added. “We have streamlined our corporate structure and stand to fully benefit from the tremendous distribution reach that A Plus adds.”
Elsewhere, CSS Entertainment has greenlit the forthcoming pet-themed docuseries Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Animal Tales.
The 15 x 30-minute series will share inspiring stories of the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. The program will be sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food and American Humane, the nation’s first national humane organization.
Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Animal Tales is set to air on Jan. 5 across The CW during the “One Magnificent Morning” block.