AT&T and Peter Chernin are holding talks with a view to having the telecommunications giant acquire a full stake in Otter Media which is a joint venture of the two parties. According to sources, this is in line with AT&T’s efforts to clean up its joint ventures before it acquires Time Warner.
Some of these joint ventures include Game Show Network, NHL Network and MLB Network and many others. AT&T’s DirecTV unit owns some of these joint ventures.
Executive role for Chernin
Sources indicated that the talks between Chernin and AT&T would see the telecommunications giant buy Chernin’s stake in Otter Media. Chernin is also likely to remain with the Dallas, Texas-based company. This is in line with reports that had appeared last year indicating that Chernin was likely to join AT&T in an executive role. Chernin, however, denied that it was the case through a spokesperson.
“AT&T is not pursuing Peter Chernin for a role, and there are zero discussions about such a relationship,” Chernin’s spokesperson told New York Post.
$1 billion company
According to estimates from industry sources, Otter Media could be worth about $1 billion. The company which operates various over-the-top ventures is a majority owner in Fullscreen which it purchased three years ago. Otter Media also owns a stake in Creativebug, a how-to website, and which was also acquired three years ago. Crunchyroll, a video hub in Asia, also counts Otter Media as one of its owners.
Recently Otter Media has started new ventures mostly as partnerships. This includes Gunpowder & Sky, a venture Otter Media started with Van Toffler, a former music executive at Viacom. Last year in November, Otter Media also revealed that it had started a joint venture known as Hello Sunshine focused on women-driven projects with Reese Witherspoon.
Chernin Entertainment, a film and television production firm is also owned by Chernin Group though it is not going to form part of the stake that AT&T will acquire. Some of the owners of Chernin Entertainent include Providence Equity.
In the deal to acquire Time Warner, AT&T is currently holding discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice officials. AT&T’s reason for the acquisition is to give it an edge in competition with online advertising giants such as Facebook and Google. Opposition has arisen over the deal and this includes from rivals such as Dish Network, a satellite television firm, which says that the acquisition will be bad for consumers since it will cost them more to access Time Warner’s content.