Here! finalizes PlanetOut merger

Gay companies converge for Media Inc.

Here! Networks has announced the completion of its merger with PlanetOut, creating public company Here Media Inc.

The June 10 transaction included the two remaining online properties — Gay.com and Planetout.com — that Here did not purchase last August when it bought PlanetOut’s Alyson Books and magazines the Advocate, Out and HIVPlus.

Here Media’s initial board of directors are chairman Stephen Jarchow, CEO Paul Colichman and current PlanetOut chairman Phil Kleweno.

The post-merger Here has a virtual lock on the American LGBT media market.

Here Networks is a multi-tiered cable channel featuring programming that appeals to the gay and lesbian audience, but the company’s reach also extends across theaters, video-on-demand, broadband, online and mobile.

Here’s Regent Worldwide Sales holdings, which includes theatrical distrib Regent Releasing, will remain a private company. Certain Regent companies will still act as sales and releasing agents for the public company.

Here recently expanded beyond its gay-focused film and TV programming by stepping up acquisitions of high-quality world cinema, such as Japan’s foreign-language Oscar winner “Departures.”

“Gay and lesbian consumers are a key market for quality films,” Colichman said. “We see ‘gay’ as ‘gay equals smart,’ as opposed to some people who have defined ‘gay’ as ‘silly.’ ”

PlanetOut was listed on the Nasdaq. In the wake of the merger, the newly created Here Media is not yet trading.

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