Just two weeks ago, Hollywood studio Relativity Media put in an eleventh-hour bid for Maker Studios in an attempt to derail Disney’s $500 million acquisition of the company.
Though they failed to stop the mouse, it’s clear they now have their eye on another piece of cheese. Relativity is now reportedly in talks to buy another major YouTube network, Fullscreen, for up to $1 billion.
Multiple sources have confirmed the two companies are in the midst of serious talks about a possible acquisition. The hope is that the deal will help Relativity extent its reach to with younger audiences, who are increasingly turning to the web for entertainment and general-interest content.
The deal is said to be in the due diligence phase, with Re/Code reporting that Fullscreen has hired prestigious investment bank Allen & Co to advise them on the deal, which is said to be worth between $350 million and $1 billion.
With Maker Studios no longer on the market, having been sold for a staggering price, it stands to reason that their biggest competitor in the space (Fullscreen) would start to get a lot of attention from traditional media. The three-year-old company was founded by YouTube’s former Strategic Partnerships lead George Strompolos. He helped to develop YouTube’s original partner program back in 2007, and used that knowledge to start what many analysts believe is the only profitable YouTube network of its size.
With over 32,000 partners, Fullscreen is the largest network on YouTube. YouTube fixtures like Shane Dawson and The Fine Bros work closely with the network, alongside new talent like Devinsupertramp and Our2ndLife, and thousands of other smaller partners. Fullscreen’s content was viewed by over 20 million unique viewers in the U.S. according to comScore, making it the fifth-largest network by U.S. audience.
When you review the comScore figures further, the incentive for major players like Disney and Relativity to get involved in new media becomes very clear. When Disney and Maker’s networks combine, they would become the most-viewed YouTube network in the U.S. by far, beating even VEVO. Clearly Relativity is hoping to see a similar boost in their online presence with Fullscreen’s help.
Relativity Media is a Hollywood powerhouse, having produced or distributed films like Brick Mansions, Romeo and Juliet, 21 & Over, The Pursuit of Happyness, 3:10 to Yuma, Fast & Furious, and many more.
Both Fullscreen and Relativity have yet to comment, but we’ll keep you updated as this story develops.