Candle Media, the new media company co-backed by ex-Disney execs, acquires Gen Z-focused ATTN: For $100M – TechCrunch

Candle Media, the new media company led by former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has made another acquisition — this time with an eye on social storytelling and reaching audiences from Gen Z to Gen. Y. The company today announced that it will become the new owner of ATTN:, a media company that uses entertainment to discuss current issues that help explain the world to younger audiences, especially those who consume content on social networks.

Of note, ATTN: also launched its own TikTok studio last year to provide production services to brands that wanted to reach TikTok’s user base. Customers of this effort have included big brands like Google, Madewell, MTV, and even TikTok itself, which has partnered with ATTN: to run its own “TikTok for Good” channel. This agreement was recently renewed for a second year.

Candle explained his interest in ATTN: it had to do with the company’s ability to effectively engage a social audience.

“ATTN: has a deep, digital-native understanding of how to cut through the noise and reach today’s audiences with engaging content on social media. We are thrilled to have them join Candle and deliver the benefits of their talented team’s expertise across our brands and franchises,” read a statement from Candle co-CEOs Mayer and Staggs.

Launched in 2014, ATTN: has created original series for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitch, in addition to ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, Freeform and Discovery networks as well as streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. His brand studio and agency have relationships with companies like Amazon, Ford, Google, Intel, Mattel, P&G, Target, and T-Mobile.

The acquisition offers ATTN: scale, capital and expertise to accelerate its growth, Candle Media said in a press release. ATTN: Co-founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, along with the existing management team, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations, original content, production and studio work, according to the announcement.

Variety reports that the deal for ATTN: is around $100 million in cash and stock, but could be worth up to $150 million with additional earn-out clauses. Candle also confirmed this figure to TechCrunch.

Candle Media, based in Los Angeles and backed by Blackstone, was founded with the aim of bringing brands together to create an independent media operation – a rarity at a time when most media companies now run their own streaming services.

In an interview with Deadline, Mayer explained that the absence of a streamer at Candle was an important part of his strategy, as he believes the demand for content itself will increase “extremely robustly” in the coming months.

After bursting onto the scene last year, the company has made several high-profile acquisitions, including children’s content company and “CoComelon” owner Moonbug for $3 billion; “Fauda” maker Faraway Road Productions for somewhere south of $50 million; and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine for around $900 million.

This year he also took a more than 10% stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company, Westbrook, and is reportedly in talks to acquire NFT Notables.

Candle has also hired, having recently added former UTA and Disney executives as chief development officer and chief financial officer.

The company says it expects the deal for ATTN to close in about 30 days.

Updated 5/17/22, 5:06 PM ET with trade price confirmation.

Cathy W. Howerton