Quibi May Be Looking For a Buyer

The mobile subscription TV startup Quibi, founded by movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, is considering some “strategic options” — including a potential sale, according to The Wall Street Journal. The app just launched in April, but has struggled to gain an audience since.

Quibi raised about $1.75 billion from investors and some major studios including Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, and China’s Alibaba Group, according to Variety. Katzenberg’s WndrCo investment vehicle is also an investor.

“Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform,” Quibi officials said in a statement. “Jeffrey [Katzenberg] and [CEO] Meg [Whitman] are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees.”

While it has dozens of original series, Quibi does not own its content. Instead, it has seven-year licenses on its short-form series. As part of the deal, content owners are able to assemble the shows and distribute them to other companies after two years. Quibi pays for high-budget original shows, which are broken into episodes of around 10 minutes each.

It is not clear who might acquire Quibi, as it has weak subscriber traction. Katzenberg, who headed DreamWorks Animation, has blamed Quibi’s poor performance on the pandemic. The platform was designed for the small moments in time people have during their commutes or lunch breaks from work, which have changed dramatically since Covid-19. However, at the same time the company is considering a sale, Quibi is also considering trying to raise more funding or launch an IPO through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.