More Sony hacking leaks: Conglom mulled sale of majority stake in Crackle

The unprecedented, ruthless attack on Sony Pictures' IT network has exposed top film executives making disparaging remarks about movie stars, producers and even the President of the United States.

But it has also laid bare some of the proposed deal-making that goes on every day at a global programming conglomerate. Amid the steady drumbeat of leaked information, on Thursday came a series of email exchanges, obtained by Bloomberg, which show Sony executives kicking the tires on a possible sale of SVOD network Crackle.

Sony executives discussed a deal with Evolution Media Capital, an investment bank backed by Hollywood talent firm Creative Artist Agency, to sell a majority stake in Crackle, the platform behind such popular online series as Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

In a Nov. 3 email, Crackle general manager Eric Berger told Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, that such an investment from Evolution would free cash for Crackle to spend on original series and marketing. The platform could also improve its balance sheets, which had been noted earlier in an also-stolen Aug. 1 email from Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks at Sony Pictures TV.

"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," Kaplan wrote. "Save the year."

The emails are among thousands that were stolen off Sony pictures and selectively leaked to media. The FBI is currently investigating the attack, with signs pointing to North Korea as a likely origin. The North Korean government has expressed unhappiness with the upcoming Christmas Day release by Sony of comedy feature The Interview, which features two TV journalists being enlisted by the CIA to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

For more
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Advertising Age story

Related links:
Sony buys exclusive rights to NBCU movies for Crackle
Sony launches its $80-a-month OTT pay-TV service, without ESPN
Berger: Sony drawing 'cord nevers' to Crackle