Candle Media, the new media company headed by former Disney execs, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has made another acquisition — this time with an eye on social storytelling and reaching a Gen Z to millennial audience. The company announced today it will become the new owner of ATTN:, a media company that uses entertainment to discuss topical issues that help explain the world to a younger audience — particularly those who consume content on social media.
Of note, ATTN: also launched its own TikTok studio last year to provide production services for brands that wanted to reach the TikTok user base. Clients on that effort have included big name brands like Google, Madewell, MTV and even TikTok itself, which partnered with ATTN: to manage its own “TikTok for Good” channel. That deal was recently renewed for a second year.
Candle explained its interest in ATTN: had to do with the company’s ability to effectively engage a social audience.
“ATTN: has a deep, digital-native understanding for how to cut through the noise and reach today’s audiences through engaging content on social media. We are excited for them to join Candle and provide the benefits of their talented team’s expertise across our brands and franchises,” read a statement by Candle co-CEOs, Mayer and Staggs.
Launched in 2014, ATTN: has created original series for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitch, in addition to networks ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, Freeform and Discovery as well as for streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. Its brand studio and agency have relationships with companies like Amazon, Ford, Google, Intel, Mattel, P&G, Target and T-Mobile.
The acquisition offers ATTN: scale, capital and expertise to accelerate its growth, Candle Media said in a press release. ATTN: co-founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, along with the existing senior management team, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations, original content, production and studio work, the announcement said.
Variety reports the deal for ATTN: is around $100 million in both cash and stock but could be worth up to $150 million with additional earn-out provisions. Candle confirmed this figure to TechCrunch as well.
Blackstone-backed, L.A.-based Candle Media was founded with an eye on aggregating brands to build an independent media operation — a rarity at a time when most media companies are now running their own streaming services.
In an interview with Deadline, Mayer explained that Candle’s lack of a streamer was an important part of its strategy, as it believes demand for content itself is going to grow “extremely robustly” in the months ahead.
After coming onto the scene last year, the company has been making several high-profile acquisitions, including that of kids content company and “CoComelon” owner Moonbug for $3 billion; “Fauda” maker Faraway Road Productions for somewhere south of $50 million; and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine for around $900 million.
Candle has also been hiring, having recently added former UTA and Disney execs as its chief development officer and CFO.
The company says it expects the deal for ATTN: to close in about 30 days.
Updated, 5/17/22, 5:06 PM ET with confirmation of deal price.