AT&T acquires control of digital media JV Otter Media

VRV
Otter Media includes the VRV brand. (VRV)

AT&T has acquired control of Otter Media, its joint venture with the Chernin Group focused on digital video. Financial details were not disclosed.

AT&T is taking full ownership of Otter Media subsidiaries Ellation, an online subscription video service provider, with offerings under the Crunchyroll and VRV brands, as well as a full-service digital media company, Fullscreen, and its Rooster Teeth brand. Otter also has ownership stakes in global content studio Gunpowder & Sky, as well as Hello Sunshine, a media company founded by Reese Witherspoon.

Otter Media will become part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit – which the company formed after successfully completing its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Tony Goncalves, who was appointed Otter Media CEO earlier this year, will continue to run the company.

"We are thrilled to incorporate the Otter Media brands and talent into WarnerMedia,” said WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey in a statement. “Working with Tony, we look to harness Otter’s expertise in feeding the passion of on-line audiences to augment our portfolio of digital assets and help us further engage, connect and entertain consumers around the globe."

RELATED: AT&T already back in M&A mode, eyeing AppNexus for $1.6B and all of Otter Media

“From the outset, Randall Stephenson and John Stankey championed the Otter strategy and vision, and AT&T has been an ideal partner in building the business — smart, creative and supportive,” said Peter Chernin, CEO of the Chernin Group, in a statement. “With AT&T’s direct-to-consumer relationships, vast data and varied content, I believe they can accelerate Otter’s growth. The combination with WarnerMedia will create a new-era media company, serving customers with every type of content delivered through every possible distribution channel.”

AT&T has long been rumored to be interested in buying the rest of Otter Media but supposedly put plans on hold while it worked on closing Time Warner. Since Time Warner closed, AT&T has set about doing smaller M&A deals, including a recent $1.6 billion deal for ad tech firm AppNexus.

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