Invincible Entertainment Partners, an independent production and distribution company, has acquired Business Rockstars — a producer of video programming featuring CEOs and entrepreneurs — for $20 million in stock.
Thom Beers and Steve Lehman, both longtime media execs and principal partners of Business Rockstars, sold the company to Invincible. With the pact, the duo will join Invincible’s board.
Beers, an Emmy-winning producer, is former chairman and CEO of FremantleMedia North America and was founder/CEO of Original Productions (“Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers,” “Storage Wars”). Lehman previously was founder/CEO of Premiere Networks (now owned by iHeartMedia) and was a first-round investor in the Mark Cuban-led Broadcast.com (acquired in the early days of the dot-com boom by Yahoo).
Tom Ashley, founder and CEO of Invincible Entertainment, said he wants to grow Business Rockstars’ audience and turn it into a “better entrepreneurial Cheddar,” a reference to the startup acquired by Altice USA for $200 million last year. According to Ashley, the content Business Rockstars produces is not traditional business and finance news à la CNBC — it’s more like “an entrepreneurial masterclass.”
“Our goal is to expand distribution,” Ashley said. The next phase will be for Business Rockstars to “create more original programming to expand on what we already have.”
Founded in 2012, Business Rockstars currently produces 12 shows and its programming airs in 43 million TV households. To date, it has banked interviews with more than 3,000 CEOs, entrepreneurs and other business leaders, Lehman said. The company broadcasts from the Nasdaq MarketSite studios in New York City’s Times Square and Beers’ Digiland studio complex in Burbank, Calif.
Business Rockstars started out as a two-hour daily radio show in Los Angeles as “a way for Thom [Beers] and I to meet cool companies to invest in,” Lehman said. Regarding the sale to Invincible, he said, “We thought this would be a great strategic alignment for Business Rockstars. I’ve come to have a lot of respect for Invincible. Tom is on the forefront of the change we’ve all been seeing.”
Added Beers: “I’m really looking forward to working with the Invincible team. They are incredibly well versed in OTT and alternative distribution platforms, and well-positioned to succeed in this new media world.”
Philadelphia-based Invincible manages a content catalog of nearly 5,000 assets including such titles as “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Kong,” “Double Dragon,” and “Highlander.” The company also operates free, ad-supported streaming TV networks including Galxy TV, FrightFlix, Watch It Kid, Watch It Scream, Cinepride, Dungeon TV, Ski TV, Screen Dreams and El Conflicto.
Business Rockstars’ eight employees are joining Invincible, which also is taking over its studio space at Digiland.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Thom Beers, Steve Lehman, Tom Ashley