Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, the rapper and hip-hop mogul who founded Bad Boy Records, the Sean Jean fashion line and Revolt TV, and who also owns a stake in the Ciroc, has bid some $200 million for the music-based Fuse cable-TV channel, according to three unnamed sources.
Combs is among several bidders making a play for Fuse, which launched in 2003 and is owned by Madison Square Garden Co., according to the report. The story also claims Diddy plans turn the channel into an extension of Revolt TV.
The all music-channel Revolt TV went live last year on Oct. 21 with a reach of about 22 million Comcast subscribers and 12 million Time Warner Cable customers, marking one of the biggest launches of a cable channel in recent years. The much bigger Fuse has some 73 million Nielsen subscribers and is carried by every major multiple system operator in the country.
When reached for comment, an MSG spokesperson said the following: “As we have stated, we are exploring strategic alternatives for Fuse, and will have no further comment during what is still an ongoing process."
A Revolt press person in an email from SXSW would only say that, "As of right now we're just focused on building REVOLT as the #1 name in music."
Revolt TV is the brainchild of Combs (aka Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy), a serial entrepreneur who has found success in music as an executive with his Bad Boy Records and a hip hop artist as well as in fashion, liquor, and more, helping him accumulate a fortune that Forbes estimated in 2013 at $580 million.
Combs hired Keith Clinkscales, who helped Quincy Jones launch Vibe magazine and spent years doing content development for ESPN, to be CEO of Revolt TV. He also hired former MTV programming chief Andy Schuon as president.
In September news broke that Fuse had hired JP Morgan to help shop the channel. “Fuse is a unique and valuable asset with 73 million Nielsen subscribers and an expanding line up of original programming that targets a highly desirable demographic," the company said in a statement. "We have been approached by certain parties expressing interest in Fuse and have retained JP Morgan to explore all strategic alternatives.
Fuse, which serves the 18-34 year old demographic, competes with networks such as Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s MTV and VH1 and Mark Cuban’s AXS TV.