Media company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Dec. 15 announced that it has acquired full ownership stake in Crackle Plus from co-owner Sony Pictures Television. The transaction come about when Sony exercised its option from a 2019 agreement to obtain $40 million of preferred stock in Chicken Soup in exchange for its stake in Crackle Plus. For the next 30 days, Chicken Soup has the right to pay Sony cash in lieu of some or all of the preferred stock. The company has already determined that it will give Sony some portion in preferred stock.
Sony Pictures acquired the service formerly called Grouper in 2006 and renamed the ad-supported streaming site Crackle. It was changed to Sony Crackle in 2018. Sony sold a majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup in March 2019, which renamed it Crackle.
“Sony has been an incredible partner for [us] and this transaction is the natural next step in our relationship,” CEO William Rouhana Jr. said in a statement. “We welcome Sony as a large shareholder and look forward to continuing to work closely with them.”
Since acquiring Crackle, the Chicken Soup management has reduced the network’s cost structure, ramped up ad sales on its owned and operated networks and differentiated the network among other AVOD offerings (i.e. The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV, etc.) through its complement of original and exclusive content. The Crackle Plus pipeline now comprises more than 10,800 movies and 22,000 television episodes available for its AVOD networks.