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Participant Media Acquires Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake, Award-Winning Digital Entertainment Company


Mission Aligned, Socially Conscious Companies Join Forces to Offer Audiences

Positive and Inspirational Content Across all Platforms

Los Angeles – October 13, 2016 – Participant Media is expanding its market-leading position as a creator of socially-conscious entertainment through the acquisition of digital entertainment media company SoulPancake. The acquisition adds a strong, distinct, digital video platform under the Participant banner to create and distribute content that inspires and compels social change. Together with Participant, SoulPancake will benefit from a growing social impact network and coordinate around strong IP from Participant properties.

Founded in 2009 by actor Rainn Wilson (The Office, Six Feet Under), SoulPancake is a leading provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting programming, including such widely popular web series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness. The company has amassed more than 300 million video views, and reaches more than 8.8 million social media fans, including 1.7 million YouTube subscribers. The company's award-winning television team creates vibrant, humorous, uplifting scripted and unscripted specials and series that have aired on networks and platforms such as The CW, MTV, VH1, Freeform, OWN, and Discovery Family.

With this acquisition, Participant Media builds on a strong track record of producing critically acclaimed films including The Help, An Inconvenient Truth, and the 2015 Oscar®-winning Best Picture Spotlight, and grows its content footprint with SoulPancake’s robust millennial-targeted platform. The deal was announced by Participant CEO David Linde and SoulPancake CEO Shabnam Mogharabi, who will become General Manager of SoulPancake and report to Participant COO Sam Neswick. 

“SoulPancake truly aligns with Participant’s model of creating inspiring entertainment that compels global awareness and action,” said Linde. “Rainn, Shabnam, and their team have thrived by creating immensely popular, shareable, and optimistic properties that connect with a large audience, and together we look forward to integrating and expanding their digital video content into a global platform that is thematically and mission aligned and thus stronger and more successful together.”

“We would never have considered an acquisition were it not Participant sitting across the table from us – we are truly professional soulmates,” Mogharabi said. “Participant’s content speaks for itself – their films are meaningful, important, and powerful. We at SoulPancake know how to tackle ‘stuff that matters’ in an uplifting, unapologetically positive way. Combined, our companies will truly be a force for good in the global content landscape.”

"I created SoulPancake seven years ago with some friends to produce inspiring content and explore what it means to be human," Wilson said. "I’m proud of what we’ve built and thrilled to begin working with Participant in SoulPancake’s next chapter. Plus, they gave me a reusable, BPA-free water bottle and introduced me to Al Gore."

SoulPancake’s present leadership and staff will remain located at its existing Los Angeles headquarters and operate under Participant Media’s corporate structure. Wilson will continue to guide the creative direction of the company, as well as provide broader creative input on Participant digital content and impact campaigns.

SoulPancake features an impressive slate of original content, including: digital short-form video; television series (its web docuseries My Last Days debuted its second season on The CW in August); and a strong branded entertainment division, which notably architected Coca-Cola’s digital campaign during the 2015 Super Bowl. In addition to its commercial success, SoulPancake boasts a highly engaged and altruistic audience. Since 2014, SoulPancake has helped contribute to $1.5 million in cancer research, donate 2 million meals to hungry kids, collect socks for the homeless in more than 100,000 classrooms, and give 500,000 pounds of dog food to local animal shelters.

Neswick, COO; Gabriel Brakin, General Counsel & EVP Business Affairs; and Ted Lim, SVP Strategy & Business Development managed the deal on behalf of Participant and were advised by Latham and Watkins.  Cooley LP advised on behalf of SoulPancake.

 

About Participant Media

Participant Media (http://www.participantmedia.com/) is a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for viewers to get involved. Participant’s more than 75 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 50 Academy Award® nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight. Participant's digital hub, TakePart (http://www.TakePart.com), serves millions of socially conscious consumers each month with daily articles, videos and opportunities to take action. Follow Participant Media on Twitter at @Participant and on Facebook.

Participant’s successful run last awards season culminated in three Academy Awards®, including the company’s first Best Picture win for Spotlight. The company’s 2016 film slate includes Morgan Neville’s The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (The Orchard); Alex Gibney’s Zero Days (Magnolia Pictures); Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans (DreamWorks Pictures/Disney); Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate); Denial starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall (Bleecker Street); Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, based on James Patterson’s best-seller series (CBS Films); J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls (Focus Features); and Pablo Larrain’s Neruda (The Orchard).

 

About SoulPancake

SoulPancake is actor Rainn Wilson’s award-winning media and entertainment company. One of the leading creators of inspiring, uplifting video content, SoulPancake creates content for digital and traditional distribution, including 30+ hours a year of digital video content for its community of more than 8.8 million fans. Named one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies in Video" in 2015, SoulPancake has more than 300 million video videos across its digital platforms, has released two New York Times bestsellers, been named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc500 list of fastest-growing businesses, won nine Webby Awards, three Streamy Awards, an NAACP Image Award, and took home a daytime Emmy. SoulPancake’s positive content has attracted brand partners such as Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, GE, Google, Microsoft, Purina, the United Nations, Visa, and more. Find us online at www.soulpancake.com or on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat via @soulpancake.

 

Participant Media contact
Ileen Reich
ireich@participantmedia.com
310-550-5100

 

SoulPancake contact
Folayo Lasaki
folayo@soulpancake.com
323-835-1844

 

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Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 100 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 73 Academy Award® nominations and 18 wins, including Best Picture for Green Book and Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.

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Participant Media became a Certified B Corporation in 2018. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.