Great news for anybody who wants to see some sun-damaged touch screens get livened up by a little good, hearty cheer: Redbox just got itself bought by Chicken Soup For The Soul Entertainment Inc., the company behind eight million books of inspirational sub-Reader’s Digest horseshit, and also, for some reason, Crackle—your number 1 streaming home for Joe Dirt 2.
Redbox is, of course, the company that operates all those kiosks that tend to pop up like crimson plastic mushrooms around your various neighborhood supermarkets or drugstores, catering to the societal deviants who still prefer to acquire media through plastic discs instead of the Information Superhighway, despite living in a world where Netflix and its streaming ilk are hunched over, like beasts, still guzzling down the neck-meat of the classic video store. The company has reportedly been struggling in recent years, presumably because, well, its whole business model seems pegged to a transitional phase in media consumption. (Which is to say that there’s an obvious benefit to owning physical media, for sure, but very little benefit, outside being very cheap, to renting it, as opposed to simply going digital.)
Anyway: The company—which went public last year after a period of ownership by Apollo Global Management, the big spooky conglomerate that also owns AMC Theaters, Yahoo!, Sirius Satellite Radio, and a whole bunch more stuff—is being acquired by Chicken Soup Entertainment, for a reported $375 million. Which sounds like a lot, until you find out that $50 million of that is Chicken Soup stock (the financial apparatus, not the consummate base), and that the rest was $325 million in Redbox debt the company was willing to take on.
Chicken Soup has been on an acquisition streak in recent years, most notably picking Crackle up off of Sony, and buying film distribution company Screen Media. They also make petfood! It’s not clear why, exactly, they want a physical media rental company that’s been losing both revenues and employees in recent months, but hey: Is that really anything the power of positive thinking and folksy anecdotes can’t fix? (Yes, it absolutely is.)