Troubled lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-centric media company PlanetOut has finally found a buyer of sorts. The company is merging with here! Networks, which develops original *LGBT* content for cable, satellite TV and the web, and media holding company Regent Entertainment to form Here Media. Regent and Here will pump roughly $4.7 million into the new company; PlanetOut will eventually become a subsidiary of the forthcoming entity. Here Networks’ CEO and founder Paul Colichman will serve as chief executive of the new company. No word on what role PlanetOut CEO Karen Magee will play.
It’s been a long time coming for PlanetOut (NSDQ: LGBT). It has been on the block since last January. And this isn’t the first time the company has dealt with Here Networks/Regent. PlanetOut sold its magazine and book publishing businesses to Here in April 2008 for $6 million. That deal gave Here/Regent ownership of The Advocate, Out and HIVPlus.
Terms of the merger reflect the dire financial straits PlanetOut was in: the company’s shareholders will receive one share of Here Media’s common stock as well as a share of “special stock” — for a 20 percent stake in the new company. In contrast, Here Media and Regent’s owners will get common stock only — and an 80 percent stake in the company. The “special stock is being issued to provide a limited form of downside protection in the event of a liquidation, dissolution or winding up of Here Media …” Or an outright sale of the company within for years of the merger for too low a price. You can read more details in this mind-boggling release.