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'House of Cards' producer MRC merges with Dick Clark Productions and Hollywood Reporter publisher

'House of Cards' producer MRC merges with Dick Clark Productions and Hollywood Reporter publisher
MRC produces and finances shows and movies including “Baby Driver.” (Sony/TriStar)

Media investor Todd Boehly is reshaping his entertainment empire with a complex deal that puts three very different Hollywood companies under the same corporate umbrella.

In a deal announced Thursday, "House of Cards" producer Media Rights Capital, known as MRC; television event production company Dick Clark Productions; and the publisher of the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard will merge under a new entity called Valence Media.

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Los Angeles-based Valence is owned by Boehly's Eldridge Industries and MRC co-founders Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk. Satchu and Wiczyk will lead the new company as co-chief executives, while Boehly will serve as chairman.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Eldridge, which Boehly formed when he left Guggenheim Partners, already owned Dick Clark Productions, Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group and a minority stake in MRC. Boehly first became involved with MRC when Guggenheim invested a reported $240 million in the company in 2014.

Valence will also take on Eldridge's minority stake in indie film distributor A24.

Boehly is also a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is not part of the media deal.

The three companies in the deal have widely differing specialties. MRC produces and finances shows such as "Ozark" on Netflix, and movies including "Baby Driver" and "Ted." Dick Clark produces live televised events such as the Golden Globes, American Music Awards and the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" broadcast. Billboard-Hollywood Reporter, in addition to its storied trade magazines, owns youth-focused digital brands such as Stereogum.

The combined Valence entity will have roughly 1,000 employees, mostly based in Los Angeles and New York. MRC, based in Beverly Hills, will not relocate as part of the deal. Leadership teams at Billboard-Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions are expected to remain in place.

Bringing the companies together will enable them to better collaborate on projects, including cross-promotions, Wiczyk said. For example, artists that perform on Dick Clark Productions' live shows could also then be featured in scripted programming from MRC. The company also plans to grow by making other acquisitions.

"This is an integrated media company that has important content across film, television and digital media," Wiczyk said in an interview. "This is a transaction focused on growth and scope."

Eldridge has been assessing what to do with its media assets for years. In June 2016, the company hired investment banks to review its media and entertainment holdings and consider options including sell-offs and more acquisitions.

The latest deal comes more than a year after Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group offered to pay Eldridge $1 billion for Dick Clark Productions. But that pact fell apart under scrutiny from the Chinese government amid a clampdown on large investments in the entertainment industry.

Like the rest of the print media industry, Billboard-Hollywood Reporter is adapting to digital shifts. In 2016, the company bought rock music publication Spin, hip-hop and R&B magazine Vibe and indie music blog Stereogum in a bid to reach a younger, digitally inclined audience.

Last year, Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min stepped away from the her job after transforming it from a struggling trade publication into a glossy show business magazine.

MRC is perhaps best known for producing the hit show "House of Cards" on Netflix. The political series this week resumed filming its sixth and final season — without star Kevin Spacey, who was fired from the show in November following sexual misconduct allegations against him.

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