Can you make an introduction to El Presidente?
That was the request made around six months ago by Mike Kerns to the agent for Jared Lorenzen, a former NFL quarterback and contributor to Barstool Sports, the controversial website led by Dave Portnoy (known to the site’s fans as El Presidente). Lorenzen obliged, and Kerns ― head of digital for media and technology firm The Chernin Group ― soon was on a flight from San Francisco to Boston, to have dinner with someone who he kept coming across via Twitter.
“Both myself and [Chernin Group president] Jesse Jacobs are sports fans, and thought the Barstool guys had a good sense of humor,” Kerns says. “I reached out to better understand his vision for the future, and to see if he’s the type of person we’d want to work with.”
“We weren’t looking for an investment, and I had said that I’d never do a deal unless it was so much money that I could just go live on an island,” Portnoy explains. “But Mike and Chernin Group are the first ones that I felt totally understood the brand and liked us with all of the warts.”
The two sides today announced a deal whereby Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Barstool Sports for an undisclosed amount, with Portnoy retaining 100% editorial independence. Barstool also will consolidate its geographically-disparate staff in Manhattan, which actually was Boston-based Portnoy’s idea.
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