Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud & HartBeat merge with $100m investment

Kevin Hart

US actor and comedian Kevin Hart has merged his two entertainment labels HartBeat Productions and Laugh Out Loud into one single comedy-focused business named HARTBEAT.

At the same time, private equity firm Abry Partners has made a $100m minority investment in the company, which will see Nicolas Massard, a partner at the firm, join the HARTBEAT board. NBCUniversal-owned streaming service Peacock, which signed a multi-year, first look deal and acquired an equity stake in Laugh Out Loud in 2020, will remain a shareholder.

With the new funding, HARTBEAT plans to expand its team, grow its existing brands and franchises and create new IP aimed at global audiences. The company aims to collaborate with “today’s most influential stars and rising comedic talent” both in front of and behind the camera.

The existing leadership team from HartBeat Productions and Laugh Out Loud will continue to oversee day-to-day operations. Hart will act as chairman, while Thai Randolph, who led the capital raise and held positions as president & COO of Laugh Out Loud and COO of HartBeat Productions, has been elevated to lead the new entity as CEO.

HartBeat Productions’ Bryan Smiley will become president & CCO, with Laugh Out Loud’s Jeff Clanagan now president & chief distribution officer. HartBeat Productions co-founder Leland Wigington will move to lead a new production banner under HARTBEAT.

The newly merged HARTBEAT has three divisions: HARTBEAT Studios, which is led by Bryan Smiley, and finances, develops and produces film and TV; HARTBEAT Media, led by Jeff Clanagan, focused on events, gaming, music publishing, Web3 initiatives, and its distribution network; and Pulse, the company’s branded entertainment studio. The LOL! Network will meanwhile continue to be the company’s flagship consumer brand.

Upcoming HARTBEAT projects include Me Time and Lift for Netflix, Storytown for HBO Max and the second season of Die Hart for Roku.

“The creation of HARTBEAT and our capital raise with Abry represent a new era in comedy. This all started out with a mission to keep the world laughing together and I’m so proud our teams have delivered on that, putting in the hard work to build the most innovative and inclusive comedic storytelling company,” commented Hart.

Read Next