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RTL Group Takes Controlling Stake in Multichannel Network StyleHaul

Stephanie Horbaczewski (above) set up StyleHaul in 2011 with backing from Machinima founders Allen and Aaron DeBevoise

LONDON — RTL Group, Europe’s largest broadcast network, is to acquire a controlling stake in StyleHaul, the fashion- and lifestyle-focused multichannel network, for $107 million, valuing the company at $151.4 million.

Variety first reported that RTL was closing in on a deal to buy the YouTube-centric MCN.

The companies have agreed to earn-out mechanisms that might increase the initial consideration to up to $200 million, subject to the future performance of the business. RTL Group will also invest $20 million into StyleHaul to fund the company’s growth plan.

The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of November, will up RTL Group’s stake from 22.3% to 93.6%. Under the terms of the deal, RTL Group has the opportunity to acquire the remaining equity, owned by StyleHaul’s management and employees.

The deal is the third big takeover of a YouTube multichannel network this year, coming after Disney’s deal for Maker Studios worth up to $950 million and the acquisition of Fullscreen by Otter Media, the online-video joint venture of AT&T and the Chernin Group.

“StyleHaul is an excellent fit with our digital portfolio,” Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, co-CEOs of RTL Group, said in joint statement. “With its strong advertising sales team, impressive track record in producing web content and the synergy potential with RTL Group’s broadcasters and producers, StyleHaul has the ideal foundations for continued strong growth.”

StyleHaul founder and CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski added that the RTL deal “allows the unwavering passion and dedication of the StyleHaul team and groundbreaking community of influencers to accelerate all aspects of our business.”

StyleHaul is the leading multichannel network on YouTube for fashion and beauty with more than 900 million video views per month. Revenues are expected to triple this year compared with 2013.

The company was set up in 2011 by Horbaczewski, a former marketing director at Saks Fifth Avenue, with backing from Allen and Aaron DeBevoise, the team that founded Machinima. Other investors in L.A.-based StyleHaul included Germany’s Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, which owns a majority stake in RTL, and venture-capital firm RezVen Partners.

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