the Hollywood Foreign Press Association auctions off, wooing buyers for the beleaguered organization that hands out the annual Golden Globe Awards.
HFPA interim CEO Todd Boehly has sought to buy the organization and is in negotiations with the HFPA board. Following Boehly’s offer of its Eldridge Industries banner, the organization elected to initiate a process to determine what other interests might exist.
The HFPA announced on Friday that it had formed a special committee within the nonprofit “to determine potential outside strategic interest in its organization and its assets.” The ultimate goal is “to optimize the value of the HFPA’s various assets and continue to improve the organization’s market position while strengthening its relationships with various stakeholders,” the HFPA said.
Boehly’s interest in HFPA comes in large part because Eldridge Industries is also invested in the Golden Globe Awards through its ownership of MRC Live and Alternative (formerly Dick Clark Productions), which has had a long and successful business partnership. sometimes difficult with West Hollywood-based press association.
“As we announced last year, the HFPA has begun a process of change and transformation by addressing issues of diversity, governance and conduct. As we continue this process, we have entered the phase of determining the best course of action regarding the fulfillment of the HFPA’s mission, including how to achieve optimal financial and business growth for the Golden Globe brand. in the future,” said Helen Hoehne. , president of the HFPA. “The board has appointed an independent committee to work with our financial and legal advisors to review proposals from any interested parties in this phase.”
The HFPA statement cited its negotiations with Boehly and said at least one other potential bidder approached, prompting them to begin a formal process. The special committee is working with the HFPA’s three outside independent directors — Sharlette Hambrick, Jeff Harris and Joanna Massey — and financial adviser Houlihan Lokey, among other legal advisers.
“The decision to create a special independent committee, which will work in conjunction with financial and legal advisors, follows our previously stated commitment to adhere to good governance practices and transparency of our actions,” Hoehne said. The HFPA has sought to reinforce that a deal with Boehly is not a done deal, despite his closeness to the organization.
“The HFPA is committed to conducting a thorough and timely review of its potential strategic alternatives to identify a path forward that is in its best interests. At this time, the special committee has reached no conclusion and there can be no assurance that the review will result in a transaction or other strategic change or outcome,” the HFPA said.
The HFPA’s decision comes after more than a year of turmoil for the nearly 80-year-old news organization that has thrived for the past 25 years on lucrative fees from NBCUniversal and other Golden Globe Awards partners. . The popular island organization came under fire early last year following an expose by the Los Angeles Times about possible financial irregularities, as well as the absence of any black members from the group.
Additionally, the HFPA has faced a new round of criticism of its governance and practices around awards season. NBC ended television broadcasting of the Globes in 2022 after The Times reported details of members receiving unusually high fees for judging awards and other routine practices. Amid an industry backlash, the industry the best personal publicists grouped together to keep their clients out of the Globes competition, in an effort to induce the organization to make substantial reforms and expand its membership base. Boehly, who is president of the MRC, was named interim CEO of HFPA last November.
Besides distributing statuettes in January, the HFPA is known for using its charitable donations to entertainment-related causes and organizations around the world. The organization says it has donated more than $50 million to more than 70 “charitable organizations, film restorations, scholarship programs and humanitarian efforts” over the past 30 years.
(Disclosure: Variety parent company PMC is a partner of MRC in the PMRC business which owns Billboard, Vibe and the Hollywood Reporter.)
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