David Portnoy Sells Stake in Barstool Sports to Chernin Group, Moves Site to NYC
David Portnoy, the man known as “El Pres” to scores of adoring Stoolies, is no longer the majority owner of Barstool Sports.
The Chernin Group, led by media investor Peter Chernin (“big swingin’ dick at the cracker factory,” as described by Portnoy), has taken a majority stake in the site. Portnoy announced the news in an “emergency press conference” in Times Square.
As part of the deal, which Portnoy said took six months of negotiations to hammer out, all Barstool staff will move to Manhattan in the next six to eight months. On Periscope, Portnoy said Barstool’s valuation was “between $10 and 15 million.”
“Do I like Manhattan? No. Do I want to be in Manhattan? No. Do I like the people looking at me during this press conference? No,” Portnoy said. “But it’s the right move, because in my heart of hearts, I believe Barstool is better at what we do. Over the last 10 years, we’re funnier, smarter, better, prettier, than everybody else who is stealing our schtick on the Internet.”
In addition to the move, Jesse Jacobs and Mike Kerns of the Chernin Group will join the Barstool Sports board, and a “content studio” will be established, reports Recode.
“Even though I’m not the majority owner of Barstool anymore I’m still 100% in charge of content,” Portnoy wrote in an accompanying blog post. “This was not my cash out moment. This was our best shot to literally take this thing to the moon. To swing for the fences. The idea to move us all into one office in NYC was my idea.”
The news comes the same day Sports Illustrated ran a piece on its “The Cauldron” vertical describing the site’s social media presence as a “weapon,” and detailing the harassment of several female sportswriters and bloggers by Barstool readers.
I wish I could say that those who run Barstool Sports know better. But that would be a lie,” author Nick Stellini wrote. “They don’t know better, because they can’t comprehend that what they do isn’t gospel. They can’t fathom that their brand of humor and arrogance isn’t what they or anyone else should be spewing all over the Internet. Appealing to the lowest common denominator is easy, and Barstool Sports is living, breathing proof of it.”
Despite the site’s proclivity for controversy, Portnoy said that the Chernin Group is fully aware of what it’s gotten itself into.
“Chernin knows about the Size 6 skinny jean joke. They know about Babygate. They know about Al Jazeera. They get it. They understand it. They understand what makes us tick and don’t want to change it at all,” he said.
Parenthetically, he added that he’s “kinda rich now.”