Hollywood Reporter

Revolt New Owner After Diddy Sale is Its Own Employees Fsalinks

For the past few months, ever since Diddy sold his stake in the media company he co-founded, Revolt, there has been speculation about who the buyer was.

Revolt CEO Detavio Samuels, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, revealed that the answer is not another high-flying media or music mogul, nor is it a larger company looking to fold Revolt into its portfolio.

Revolt’s new ownership group is being led by its own employees.

“I think there’s been a lot of speculation around who owned Revolt, who was going to own Revolt. And while we’ve been well aware of the rumors over the last several months, I would say that it was important for us to stay the course on this specific approach,” Samuels says. “What makes me excited about the news to share today is just the realization that we didn’t need anybody else, that we were the ones that we have been looking for the whole time.”

Samuels says that Revolt’s employees will hold the largest pool of equity in the company, with other shareholders holding smaller pools of capital. There is no single majority owner, with a board of directors overseeing the company, but Samuels says that the other shareholders are “all people who have been along for the ride for a long time.” Page Six reported that Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis was the buyer of Diddy’s shares, though he is not involved in the move to the employee ownership structure.

Revolt launched just over a decade ago as a cable TV play. Founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs, the media company initially was focused on carving out a piece of the pay-TV business with a music-focused channel for young consumers.

While Revolt has pivoted a few times since then, and changed its leadership, it remained very much a product of Diddy. That is until serious allegations of sexual assault were raised about the mogul, and leaks about a federal trafficking investigation emerged. Diddy stepped aside as executive chairman of Revolt late last year, and subsequently disposed of his large stake in the company.

Speaking to THR in March, Samuels said that the company did not lose any business due to the association with Diddy.

“I’m grateful for this team that stood in the midst of the fire and didn’t crumble, and I’m grateful for those advertisers and brands who stood by us,” he said at the time. “I think they recognize that if Revolt leaves the Black-owned media ecosystem, that is quite a loss. So whether they spoke to us or they didn’t, behind the scenes, they kept us protected and kept investing in Revolt. The purpose of the company isn’t shifting, regardless of who owns it or who doesn’t own it.”

That focus has, in recent years, been on creators, with less emphasis on the declining business of cable TV (though Revolt still has a linear channel).

“We exist to shift the narrative for Black people globally. Our mission, how we do that, is by building the world’s largest, most powerful Black storytelling engine on the planet, we’ve always said we were going to be powered by creators,” Samuels says. “And so while you won’t see a change, what you’ll see us really leaning into right now is this creator idea, positioning ourselves as Revolt, the home for creators that shape culture. We have a right to win there. We’ve been doing that for the last four years, we will continue doing that, but now only in a bigger and better way.”

Samuels says that the company will further build out its creator business, including turning its Atlanta studio into a creator studio “for those people who we know are more likely to be left out of the equation.”

“We see a phenomenal opportunity to build the best creator playground for Black creatives. Nobody else has what we have,” Samuels adds. “Nobody can take a creator and put them on cable TV, FAST channel, CTV, mobile, YouTube, audio, podcast, live events.”

And the executive, who represents the workforce on Revolt’s board, frames the new ownership structure as one that he wants to be replicated across the economy.

“Gone are the days where employees just go work for yet another rich family or yet another multi-millionaire or billionaire. I’m hoping that we set a new standard, which is the people who give their blood, sweat and tears to these companies every day deserve to participate in the success of the company from a strategy standpoint,” Samuels says. “I’m hoping that we get to that billion dollar valuation, and when we do that, our employees will have generated generational wealth could have never imagined. So that’s the long term play for me.”


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