European broadcaster RTL Group SA said Monday it plans to increase its minority stake in YouTube fashion video producer StyleHaul Inc. in a deal that reflects the increasing valuation of online content companies.
RTL, of Luxembourg, said it would pay $107 million to increase its 22.3% interest to 93.6%, valuing the three-year-old, Hollywood-based StyleHaul at $151.4 million.
"StyleHaul has a first-class management team that built up the only multi-channel network of scale with a clear focus on the fashion and beauty segment, and has a highly engaged audience – a very compelling proposition for major brand advertisers," said RTL co-CEOs Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch in a statement.
Speculation of a StyleHaul auction surfaced in August as media companies began snapping up content providers for Google's (GOOG) YouTube. AT&T (T) and media investor Peter Chernin took a majority of Fullscreen Inc. in September; U.K. advertising and marketing company WPP plc retained a minority holding in Fullscreen.
Earlier in the year, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) , the world's largest entertainment company, agreed to pay up to $950 million for Maker Studios, yet another YouTube content company. RTL itself in August agreed to pay $144 million for a 65% stake in Denver-based SpotXchange, an online advertising company.
The deal appears very lucrative for StyleHaul's venture and angel investors, though two of its largest investors were RTL and the Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments unit of RTL parent Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. The target had previously raised $16.9 million in two fundraising rounds. StyleHaul's other investors include RezVen Partners, Juvo Capital and Wavemaker Partners as well as Allen and Aaron DeBevoise.
StyleHaul was launched in 2011 by former Saks Inc. executive Stephanie Horbaczewski, now StyleHaul CEO. The company is named after the "haul" videos popular with fashion bloggers who show their "hauls" of purchases and gifts after shopping trips or fashion shows. Its videos reach 60 million unique visitors each month and generate 900 million views.
RTL shares gained €0.49 to €75 ($93.69) in afternoon Frankfurt trading.