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Sony Has Mulled Selling Majority Stake in Crackle, According to Hacked Emails

In yet another revelation about Sony Pictures’ internal workings in the wake of a devastating cyber-attack last month, execs in the studio’s TV division have recently discussed selling a majority stake in online-video site Crackle to raise cash, according to emails released by the hackers that hit the studio.

Sony Pictures Television discussed a deal with Evolution Media Capital, an investment firm formed in partnership with CAA, according to a Nov. 3 email from Crackle g.m. Eric Berger to SPT president Steve Mosko, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

In another email divulged by hackers, according to Bloomberg, Andy Kaplan, Sony Pictures Television’s president of worldwide networks, wrote: “If we sold 51%/control at a total valuation of $200 mi, for the sake of the example, we’d bring in $100 mil in cash and probably more importantly, book a gain of something like $125 mil… Save the year.”

By selling a stake in Crackle, Sony would generate cash to spend on original series and marketing, Berger said in the email to Mosko, which also indicated that Crackle expects to spend $10 million in 2015 to license content.

Reps for Sony Pictures Television and Evolution Media Capital declined to comment on the leaked emails. Sony has previously declined to address other disclosures that have emerged from the Nov. 24 cyber-attack.

Sonybought online-video site Grouper in 2006 for $65 million in cash. It relaunched the free, ad-supported service as Crackle the following year.

Crackle’s most popular series is Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” now in its fifth season, in which the comic actor drives around in classic autos with guest comedians (and they go get coffee).

Other original programming on Crackle includes “Sports Jeopardy!” hosted by Dan Patrick and “Sequestered,” a drama series about a jury sequestered in a hotel while deliberating a high-profile kidnapping-murder case. Licensed content includes episodes of “Seinfeld,” “Damages,” “Blue Mountain State,” “The Shield” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” as well as movies including “The Karate Kid,” “Pitch Black” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife.”

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