Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Picked up by Kevin Mayer and Tom Stagg’s New Media Company

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

The women-focused media company run by Reese Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine, is being sold to former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs' media startup. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but according to the Wall Street Journal, it's valued at $900 million.

Mayer and Staggs' yet-to-be-named company is backed by investment capital group Blackstone. The acquisition is the first by the new company, which hopes to use Hello Sunshine to establish itself as an independent, creator-friendly media company.

Launched in 2016, Hello Sunshine produces series for Apple, Hulu, HBO and Amazon. It's best known for "Big Little Lies," "Little Fires Everywhere," and "The Morning Show," but it also creates a host of unscripted shows, and is in production with several films including an adaption of the novel 'Where the Crawdads Sing,' one of Reese's Book Club picks.

Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine's CEO Sarah Harden and its senior management will continue to oversee day-to-day operations. Witherspoon and Harden will also join the company's board.

The cash shelled out for the five-year-old company speaks to the soaring value of high-end content as streamers compete to fill their bottomless libraries. Media companies have increasingly foregone licensing out their productions in lieu of retaining them for their owned-and-operated streaming platforms. That could create an opportunity for an independent studio with no ties to a specific streamer.

Fellow star-driven independent production studio, LeBron James' SpringHill Company, has also been rumored to be exploring a sale. Earlier this year Amazon acquired MGM Studios for $8.45 billion to fill the pipes of its Amazon Prime Video.

"This is a unique time in our world where the intersection of art, commerce and media makes it possible for these creators to tell their stories and Hello Sunshine is here to put a spotlight on their amazing creations," Witherspoon said in announcing the deal.

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Here’s the Latest on Fifth Wall’s Early-Stage Climate Tech Fund

Harrison Weber

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send non-sensitive tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely by downloading Signal on a non-work device: +1 917 434 4978.

Fifth Wall, the fast-growing real estate tech venture firm, revealed this week that it has scored at least $116.8 million for its Early-Stage Climate Technology Fund, according to an amended SEC filing. That figure is up from $79.5 million in May 2021, when the firm last disclosed its fundraising efforts for the climate investment vehicle.

In December, Fifth Wall announced it had brought in prolific clean-tech investor Greg Smithies to head its efforts to "decarbonize the built world." That's when the firm went public about its plan to raise at least $200 million to invest in climate tech.

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A Partly Autonomous, Electric Trucking Operation Is Already Underway in LA

David Shultz
David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many defects in our society, but chief among them may be the fragility of our supply chains. From toilet paper to bicycles to lumber, the virus has shown that even relatively minor disruptions to the chain can cause long-term shortages of important goods.

In Los Angeles, a San Francisco-based autonomous trucking company is carrying out a new pilot program with computer hardware giant HP Inc. In the next couple of years, the startup wants to reduce emissions and transit times in HP's supply chains. And if it's successful, expand the model to other companies.

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Tradesy Is Leading Shoppers Away from Fast Fashion, and Investors Are Buying Into It

Sarah Favot

Favot is an award-winning journalist and adjunct instructor at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She previously was an investigative and data reporter at national education news site The 74 and local news site LA School Report. She's also worked at the Los Angeles Daily News. She was a Livingston Award finalist in 2011 and holds a Master's degree in journalism from Boston University and BA from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

Tracy DiNunzio wants to kill fast fashion.

Founder and CEO of Santa Monica-based Tradesy, DiNunzio said over the last decade consumers are recognizing the harmful effects of low-priced, rapidly-produced fast fashion on the global climate. She argues that in addition to being environmentally conscious, buying and reselling high-end fashion items can also be affordable.

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