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StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees.

StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing.

RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, headed by Giles Drew, will continue. Sean Atkins, the former MTV president who joined the company last year as CEO of StyleHaul and CEO of RTL Group’s Digital Video Group, will remain in the role and split his time between the U.S. and U.K.

The shutdown of the U.S. side of StyleHaul’s business comes after RTL last week announced a goodwill impairment related to the decline of StyleHaul’s value for full-year 2018 of around $119 million (€105 million). When RTL acquired a majority stake in StyleHaul in 2014 for $107 million, it valued the company at $151.4 million at the time.

StyleHaul, like many of its digital-video peers, simply couldn’t sustain profitability — becoming the latest casualty in the sector. In January, AT&T’s Otter Media dissolved Machinima, one of the pioneering YouTube multichannel network operators. Last fall, Defy Media, whose brands included Smosh and Clevver, shut down last fall without warning after it failed to secure financing or find a buyer.

At one point, StyleHaul had worked with top digital influencers including Cameron Dallas, Zoella, Joey Graceffa, Fleur De Force, Joe Sugg, and Dulce Candy on original content development and other projects. Last year, RTL had boasted that StyleHaul’s network comprised more than 5,000 digital influencers who create content attracting more than 60 million unique viewers and generating over 2.5 billion views per month.

In a statement, a StyleHaul spokesman said, “The StyleHaul management team and board of directors have made the decision to close StyleHaul’s U.S. offices and manage all global operations from Europe. This reorganization will allow StyleHaul to benefit from stronger collaboration with other companies within RTL Group’s recently established Digital Video Group, enhancing its ability to deliver quality, multi-platform digital video marketing campaigns for clients.”

Atkins joined RTL after former StyleHaul CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski — who founded StyleHaul in 2011 — left the company last summer.

The news of StyleHaul’s U.S. shutdown was first reported by TubeFilter.

Luxembourg-based RTL Group owns interests in 60 TV channels, eight VOD platforms and 30 radio stations and owns production company Fremantle. Other multiplatform digital networks in RTL’s portfolio include BroadbandTV, Divimove, United Screens and more than 300 Fremantle-operated YouTube channels.

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