Former academy president’s company offers to buy Golden Globes

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Pacific Coast Entertainment, a group led by former Motion Picture Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, made a multimillion-dollar bid this week to buy the Golden Globes.

Offer includes payment to Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members an annual salary of $120,000 guaranteed for five years, as well as a one-time “pandemic relief grant” of $100,000 and establishing an endowment of $5 million a year, according to a term sheet reviewed by the Times.

Pacific Coast Entertainment would “obtain all rights and privileges associated with ownership of the Golden Globe Awards Show,” as well as “intellectual property privileges.” The group also “seeks to influence the strategic direction of the HFPA and guide its transformation and governance,” according to the offering.

“While we await formal indication that the HFPA has instituted a fair and transparent process by which we can present our partnership proposal to you in person, we recognize that time is running out,” Isaacs and his Pacific Coast partner wrote. , Yusef D. Jackson. in an email Monday to association members, the board of directors and president Helen Hoehne.

“The HFPA and its financial advisors have a process in place to consider proposals from all interested parties,” HFPA spokesman James Lee said.
“This process involves working with Houlihan Lokey as previously announced. The massive and ongoing emailing of members is not the process agreed to by the Special Committee and runs counter to a thorough and comprehensive review We hope that all interested parties will follow the correct process.

Boone Isaacs was not immediately available for comment.

The offer is the latest purchase proposal from the HFPA as the organization tries to emerge from a turbulent period.

For months, HFPA acting CEO Todd Boehly signaled his intention to buy the association under his private equity firm Eldridge Industries and turn it into a for-profit company.

Isaacs was the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that hosts the Oscars. Under his tenure, the academy has made strides to diversify both its members, its nominees, and its winners.

NBC dropped the 2022 Globes show last year, a contingent of powerful publicists boycotted the organization and studios including Netflix and Warner Media severed ties after the Times investigation found raised questions about the band’s ethical and financial lapses and revealed that none of the 87 members at the time were black. The HFPA has since added 21 new members, including six black, and hired a director of diversity.

Under terms set out in Pacific Coast Entertainment’s term sheet, the company would contribute 20% of its HFPA-related revenue to support the association’s ongoing operations, including “the development of its web presence and social media, research support for members, professional development, marketing/communications support, management of its foundation and other activities of the Association.

The endowment – up to $5 million per year – will be used to “support members’ efforts and careers.”

In addition, the offer describes the structuring of the members’ annual salary “at a level high enough to provide an economic foundation on which any member, at any stage of their career, can build, maintain and support their career in a way independent with dignity and integrity”.

However, the compensation plan is likely to raise further questions about the HFPA, which is already under review for various conflicts of interest. The members’ compensation, as outlined in the agreement, will essentially make them employees of the HFPA and, therefore, paid voters of the Golden Globes.

The HFPA came under fire last year after The Times reported that the nonprofit paid its members nearly $2 million to serve on committees and perform other duties.

Pacific Coast Entertainment’s proposal comes a week after the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced that it had begun a formal review “to determine potential external strategic interest in its organization and assets”. A special committee comprised of an independent HFPA Board of Directors as well as financial and legal advisors will review the proposals.

Under Boehly’s proposal, Eldridge would form a new company and acquire the Golden Globes assets on the basis of an “independent third-party appraisal company”, according to points of the plan reviewed by The Times. The proceeds would be used to fund the charitable wing of the HFPA.

The association’s tax-exempt status would be dissolved and the new association would give members “the opportunity to share in its profits, thereby giving them a stake in the success of the Globes”.

In addition to member approval, the plan would also need final approval from the California Attorney General.

Boehly, named interim CEO of the HFPA last October, is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers and Sparks. It recently bought English Premier League football team Chelsea FC, along with a consortium of buyers. His company Eldridge also owns stakes in the Beverly Hilton, longtime home of the Globes awards ceremony, as well as trade publications including The Hollywood Reporter.

Last month, several HFPA members openly questioned Boehly’s proposal. One member called it a “corporate takeover” and a game for the group’s “intellectual property”, saying the plan would make the non-profit HFPA a “subsidiary of its corporate portfolio”, according to the email obtained by The Times. “This project makes a lot of sense for Eldridge, but none for the HFPA.”

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