How Reese Witherspoon Became the Richest Actress in the World | Forbes France

Reese Witherspoon |
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Reese Witherspoon’s decision to bet on herself and female-led stories is paying off: Actress’ fortune is now worth $ 400 million, says Forbes, after the news that a Blackstone-backed media company bought a controlling stake in its production company Hello Sunshine.

The deal values ​​Hello Sunshine, founded in 2016 to tell stories focused on women, to $ 900 million, thanks to its track record of success as Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere, and a promising pipeline of popular book adaptations. The new media company, which will be headed by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has bought out existing Hello Sunshine investors, including AT&T and Emerson Collective from Laurene Powell Jobs, as well as a portion of Reese’s stake. Witherspoon.

Reese Witherspoon will retain a stake of at least 18% and will receive approximately $ 120 million, after tax, from the sale of half of his previous approximately 40% stake in the company. The rest of her fortune is tied to her income (after tax) from her 30-year career as a successful actress and producer. Reese Witherspoon is one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars and she can claim very high salaries. She earns at least $ 1 million per episode for her television work – she earns $ 1.2 million per episode to produce and star in The Morning Show on Apple TV +, according to industry insiders – and millions of extra dollars for movie roles. She is also widely regarded for her work in advertisements for companies like Crate & Barrel.

Before the #MeToo movement and widespread calls for gender equity in show business, Reese Witherspoon was frustrated with the roles offered to her and the dearth of female-led stories in Hollywood. In 2012, she founded Pacific Standard, which produced the films Wild and Gone Girl. In 2016, his production efforts morphed into Hello Sunshine. The company has a number of projects in development, including the upcoming Netflix series. From Scratch, with Zoe Saldana, and The Last Thing He Told Me on Apple TV +, with Julia Roberts. In cinema, Hello Sunshine adapts the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing.

Reese Witherspoon expanded his media empire by creating Reese’s Book Club, a natural move given that many of his projects are adaptations of novels written by women. The club has 2.1 million subscribers and 42 of the 50 books it has selected have entered the bestseller list of the New York Times, which means that future versions for film and television have acquired audiences.

“I started this business to change the way all women are viewed in the media,” Reese Witherspoon said in a statement.

Hello Sunshine will be the cornerstone of the new media company created by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. The duo went in search of assets. As the streaming age dawned, executives saw a chance to capitalize on Hollywood’s almost insatiable demand for recognizable entertainment franchises and projects featuring top talent.

This appetite for big-name entertainment brands that can stand out in an increasingly crowded streaming landscape is behind Amazon’s $ 8.45 billion bid to acquire MGM, the home of James Bond, Robocop and Rambo, and more modest but notable deals like the more than $ 400 million agreement by Universal Pictures to create a new trilogy of films based on the classic franchise of The Exorcist.

Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs saw an opportunity in Hello Sunshine, whose largest shareholder, AT&T, is looking to pull out of the entertainment business. The telecommunications giant announced in May its intention to separate from WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery, a deal that follows the sale of DirecTV to a private equity firm.

AT&T seized the opportunity with a deal that would give them an easy exit, and Reese Witherspoon was interested in a deal that would provide liquidity to fuel Hello Sunshine’s continued growth. An agreement was reached quickly over the summer.

“Hello Sunshine fits perfectly with our vision of a new, next-generation entertainment, technology and content company,” Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer said in a statement. “We seek to empower creators to innovate, capitalize and evolve to inspire, entertain and delight global audiences.”

Reese Witherspoon will join the board of directors of the new media company, alongside Sarah Harden, CEO of Hello Sunshine. They will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the business.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Madeline Berg

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