(Adds details about the companies involved)
SAN FRANCISCO, July 23 AT&T Inc and the
Chernin Group are close to buying a majority slice of
Fullscreen, in a deal that will value the popular YouTube video
network at $200 million to $300 million, said tech blog Re/code,
citing sources familiar with the target company.
Otter Media, a joint venture between the telecom carrier and
the investment group headed by media entrepreneur Peter Chernin,
beat out several unidentified prospective buyers in past months,
the blog reported on Wednesday.
AT&T, Fullscreen and the Chernin Group were not immediately
available for comment.
The acquisition would follow on the heels of Walt Disney
Co's $500 million acquisition of Maker Studios earlier
this year, which cast a spotlight on the potential value of
fast-growing original content channels on Google Inc's
Time Warner Inc, Yahoo Inc and Relativity
Media LLC are among the companies that have reportedly eyed or
held talks with Fullscreen, which caters to a younger-skewing
audience and claims some 3 billion monthly video views from more
than 400 million subscribers.
Otter Media was set up this year with $500 million in
capital investment from AT&T and the Chernin Group. Its stated
goal is to acquire and launch over-the-top video services,
so-called because they bypass traditional cable TV operators.
Under the deal now being hammered out, Fullscreen Chief
Executive Officer George Strompolos, the ex-YouTube executive
who started the company, will continue to run the video network
and will retain a stake in the company, it said.
(Reporting by San Francisco newsroom; Editing by Matthew Lewis
and Lisa Shumkaer)