Former academy president’s firm offers to buy Golden Globes

Pacific Coast Entertainment, a group led by former Film Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, this week made a multi-million dollar bid to buy the Golden Globes.

The offer included paying the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members get an annual salary of $120,000, guaranteed for five years, along with a one-time $100,000 “Pandemic Relief Grant,” and a $5 million a year support fund set up, according to the company. a newspaper article reviewed by The Times.

Pacific Coast Entertainment will “acquire all rights and privileges associated with the ownership of the Golden Globe Awards Program,” as well as “intellectual property privileges.” The group “also seeks to influence the strategic direction of HFPA and guide its transformation and governance,” according to the proposal.

“While we are waiting for official indications that HFPA has established a fair and transparent process by which we can present our partnership proposal directly to you, we realize it is time Time is of the essence,” wrote Boone Isaacs and her Pacific Coast partner Yusef D.. Jackson in an email sent Monday to members of the association, its board of directors and President Helen Hoehne.

“HFPA and its financial advisors have in place a process to consider proposals from any interested parties,” said HFPA spokesman James Lee.

“That process involves working with [investment bank] Houlihan Lokey as previously announced. Continuing mass emailing of members is not a process agreed to by the Special Committee and is counterproductive to thorough, thorough review. We expect any interested parties to follow due process.”

In a statement, Marcy Simon, a spokesperson for Pacific Coast Entertainment, said: “We are committed to honoring our 80-year legacy as a leading nonprofit for film journalism and television and celebrate it all over the world. PCE’s proposal is clear: we will compensate foreign reporters who join HFPA based on a structure that offers competitive salaries. PCE fully affirms and supports the independence and right of HFPA to maintain its status as a member-based, nonprofit organization, as defined under IRC(c)(6). ”

This offer is the latest to buy HFPA as it struggles to weather a tumultuous period.

For months, HFPA’s interim chief executive, Todd Boehly, has signaled his intention to acquire the association under the name of his private equity firm, Eldridge Industries, and transform it into a for-profit venture.

Boone Isaacs was the first Black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that awards the Oscars. Under her tenure, the academy has made strides to diversify its membership, nominees and winners.

Last year, NBC dropped the broadcast of Globes 2022, a powerful public group boycotted the organization, and studios including Netflix and Warner Media severed ties after The Times investigation raised questions about the group’s moral and financial flaws and revealed that it wasn’t. of the 87 members at the time were Black. HFPA has since added 21 new members, six of whom are Black, and hired a director of diversification.

Subject to the terms outlined in Pacific Coast Entertainment’s terms of service, the company will contribute 20% of HFPA-related revenue to support the association’s ongoing operations, including “growing its web presence and social networking, research support for Members, professional development, marketing/communication support, management of its platform, and other activities of the Association. ”

The funding – up to $5 million annually – will be used to “support the efforts and cause of Members.”

Furthermore, the incentive describes structuring members’ annual salaries “at a level sufficiently high to provide an economic foundation upon which any Member, at any stage of his or her career, can independently build, maintain, and sustain their careers with dignity and integrity.”

However, the compensation plan is likely to raise more questions about the HFPA, which has come under scrutiny for its many glaring conflicts of interest. Remuneration of members as outlined in the agreement will essentially make them employees of HFPA and, as a result, Golden Globe voters get paid.

HFPA came under fire last year after The Times reported that the nonprofit association paid members nearly $2 million in fiscal year 2021 to serve on committees and perform other duties.

Pacific Coast Entertainment’s proposal came a week after Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced that it had begun a formal review “to identify potential external strategic interests in the organization and its assets.” A special committee consisting of an independent HFPA board of directors, along with financial and legal advisors, will review the proposals.

Under Boehly’s proposal, Eldridge would form a new company and acquire Golden Globe assets based on an “independent third-party appraiser,” according to key points of the plan reviewed by The Times. Proceeds will be used to fund HFPA’s charitable activities.

The association’s tax-exempt status will be dissolved and the new association will give its members “the opportunity to share in its profits, thus giving them a stake in the success of the Globes. ”

In addition to members’ approval, the plan will also need final signatures from California’s attorney general.

Boehly, HFPA’s interim CEO appointed in October, is a part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers and Sparks. He recently purchased English Premier League soccer team Chelsea FC, along with a group of buyers. His company Eldridge also owns shares in the Beverly Hilton, the longtime home of the Globes, as well as trade publications, including the Hollywood Reporter.

Last month, several members of the HFPA publicly questioned Boehly’s proposal. One member called this a “corporate takeover” and a game for the group’s “intellectual property,” saying the plan would make the nonprofit HFPA a “subsidiary in the portfolio.” corporate investment,” according to an email obtained by The Times. “This project makes a lot of sense for Eldridge, but not for HFPA.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-05-17/former-academy-president-boone-isaaces-offer-buy-golden-globes-hfpa Former academy president’s firm offers to buy Golden Globes

Edmund DeMarche

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