Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. approves sale of Golden Globes assets to Todd Boehly

·3 min read
Scenes from the 2020 Golden Globes awards show. <span class="copyright">(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Scenes from the 2020 Golden Globes awards show. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Thursday voted to accept a proposal by interim Chief Executive Todd Boehly that will effectively transform the nonprofit international journalists’ group into a for-profit venture.

The new private entity will manage its Golden Globes assets while maintaining the charitable and philanthropic programs in a separate nonprofit entity.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"This is a historic moment for the HFPA and the Golden Globes," said Helen Hoehne, president of the HFPA, in a statement. "We have taken a decisive step forward to transform ourselves and adapt to this increasingly competitive economic landscape for both award shows and the journalism marketplace. ... We are excited to move forward with a mandate to ensure we continue our support for increasing diversity in all areas and maintaining our life-changing charitable and philanthropic efforts."

Boehly, chairman of private equity firm Eldridge Industries, the parent company of longtime Globes producer Dick Clark Productions (now known as MRC Live & Alternative), presented his plan during an April general membership meeting.

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

The Dodgers co-owner recently made headlines with the record-breaking purchase of Premier League soccer club Chelsea FC for $4.93 billion.

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

The plan also needs a final sign-off from California’s attorney general.

Under the deal, HFPA members would be paid $75,000 annually for several years, according to two members who declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly.

The move comes as the embattled association has been working to reform itself and get back on track with Hollywood.

Last year, NBC dropped the broadcast of the 2022 Globes show, a contingent of powerful publicists boycotted the organization, and studios including Netflix and WarnerMedia cut ties after a Times investigation raised questions about the group’s ethical and financial lapses and revealed that not one of the then 87 members was Black.

Since then, the nonprofit HFPA has undertaken a series of reforms, including establishing new bylaws, banning gifts and adding 21 new members, six of whom are Black.

It has also announced a series of partnerships including with the NAACP and the World Bank.

Earlier this year, members were at odds as to whether it should change its nonprofit status. In an email to members in April, Luca Celada, a former board director who represents Italy, openly questioned Boehly’s plan, calling it a "corporate takeover" and a play for the group's "intellectual property." HFPA representatives disputed those claims.

In May, Pacific Coast Entertainment, a group led by former motion picture academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, made a multimillion-dollar bid to buy the Golden Globes.

Reaching out to HFPA members directly, the offer included paying them an annual salary of $120,000, guaranteed for five years, along with a one-time $100,000 “Pandemic Relief Grant,” and establishing a $5-million-a-year endowment, according to a term sheet reviewed by The Times.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.