Comedian Kevin Hart will launch new media company Hartbeat with a $100 million investment from private equity firm Abry Partners.
The new venture, unveiled Tuesday, is a combination of his two production companies, Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Productions. Hart plans to use the investment to hire more employees, grow the existing brands within the new enterprise and develop new content.
“The creation of Hartbeat and our capital raise with Abry represent a new era in comedy,” Hart stated. “This all started out with a mission to keep the world laughing together, and I’m so proud our teams have delivered on that, putting in the hard work to build the most innovative and inclusive comedic storytelling company.”
Per the agreement, Abry Partners’ Nicolas Massard will join the Hartbeat board and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which has an Equity stake in Laugh Out Loud, as well as a multiyear first-look deal, will remain a shareholder.
This is the latest private equity move into Hollywood. Tom Staggs and Kevin Mayer’s Blackstone-backed Candle Media has purchased stakes in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Westbrook Media and now owns Fauda producer Faraway Road. RedBird Capital bought a stake in LeBron James’ SpringHill and many more are eyeing the space amid a boom in streaming content.
In addition to its partnership with Peacock, Hartbeat has a film deal with Netflix, a partnership with SiriusXM, and a deal with Audible and Charlamagne Tha God. The company has more than 60 projects currently in development, including Me Time on Netflix, with Mark Wahlberg and Regina Hall; Storytown on HBO Max; and Heist, an action film helmed by F. Gary Gray.