Hello Sunshine, founded by Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, has received a US$900 million majority stake injection from entertainment executives Kevin Mayer, Tom Staggs and private equity firm Blackstone.
Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine CEO Sarah Harden and the company’s existing senior management team will continue to oversee day-to-day operations and remain significant equity holders in the business.
However, Witherspoon and Harden will also join the as yet-to-be-named Mayer and Staggs’ new media company’s board.
Founded in 2016, Hello Sunshine’s mission is to lead and change the narrative for women and provide original content focusing on the narratives and experiences of women across all platforms – from scripted and unscripted television, feature films, animated series, podcasts, audio storytelling and digital series.
Successful Hello Sunshine productions include the unscripted series The Home Edit with Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin (pictured) for Netflix and the upcoming competition series My Kind of Country for Apple TV+, the first of its kind for the platform.
In 2020 Hello Sunshine acquired award-winning showrunner Sara Rea’s SKR Productions, the production company behind the ground-breaking unscripted series Making the Cut (with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for Amazon Prime Video).
Hello Sunshine also counts the scripted Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, and Little Fires Everywhere among its properties.
It is also home to Reese’s Book Club – with 2.1 million members, one of the largest and most influential book clubs in the world with many of its best-selling picks developed and produced for screen by Hello Sunshine.
In a statement, Hello Sunshine founder Reese Witherspoon said:
“Today marks a tremendous moment for Hello Sunshine. I started this company to change the way all women are seen in media. Today, we’re taking a huge step forward by partnering with Blackstone, which will enable us to tell even more entertaining, impactful and illuminating stories about women’s lives globally.
“I am committed to continuing to create opportunity for filmmakers, authors and creators of all backgrounds and experiences to tell their stories in their own way, and to reach more audiences who will see that their stories matter.”
Joe Baratta, global head of private equity at Blackstone, added: “We are excited to have partnered with Kevin and Tom, and now Reese, Sarah and Hello Sunshine – a pioneer and category leader in the historically underserved market of female-focused content. Reese is a visionary founder and entrepreneur who has built an extraordinary business with a long runway for continued expansion.”
Hello Sunshine’s investors and partners include AT&T (via founding and follow-on investment from Otter Media), Emerson Collective, Seth Rodsky and Jim Toth.
The company’s executive team includes CEO Sarah Harden, COO, Liz Jenkins, president of film and television, Lauren Neustadter, head of unscripted, Sara Rea, head of kids and animation, Claire Curley, and head of brand partnerships, Zoe Fairbourn.
Hello Sunshine was named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2021.