Why did Rhett and Link buy Smosh? Price and deal terms explored as Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox re-acquire iconic comedy brand

Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. (Photo via @Mythical/Twitter)
Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. (Photo via @Mythical/Twitter)

American YouTube sketch comedy-improv collective, Smosh, has been reacquired by its original founders, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox after the duo sold it to YouTube comedy and talk show duo Rhett & Link. On June 20, the official Twitter handle of Rhett and Link shared a lengthy post and shared a picture of the quadruple together shaking hands.

The duo began the post by directly announcing that they have sold Smosh back to its original founders, who founded the channel 18 years ago.

"We are extremely proud of everything we and Ian accomplished during our time working together, and will continue to be fans and friends to Smosh as they enter this new era!"

Calling it a "huge moment" in their production company Mythical Entertainment’s history, the duo continued:

"We couldn’t think of a more perfect outcome on our investment than selling Smosh back to the internet's other iconic best-friend duo."

Rhett and Link thanked their followers for supporting them and congratulated Padilla and Hecox on their next chapter.


Rhett and Link acquired Smosh after its parent company collapsed

In 2019, Rhett and Link's production company Mythical Entertainment bought Smosh for less than $10 million, as per Hollywood Reporter. This happened after the channel's parent company, Defy Media, abruptly shut down and laid off almost all its staff.

At the time, the YouTube channel had around 40 million subscribers, and Padilla had already left the company and started his solo career. On November 6, 2018, Ian Hecox took to his Twitter handle to announce that the YouTube collective was already in "the process of finding a new home.”

As per Hollywood Reporter, McLaughlin and Neal texted Ian Hecox around this time and offered to help. A few months later, they reconnected for a potential deal. Hecox said of his decision that they were considering "good partners in the space."

“We had no idea that Mythical was even in this kind of place when they reached out to us. What I really admire about Mythical is that it’s not owned by a large conglomerate, so they’re in complete control of the destiny of the company. For me, that’s really exciting and really assuring. It makes me a lot more excited about the future than if we were to end up in the hands of a huge conglomerate that doesn’t really know or care about an Internet brand.”

In February 2019, McLaughlin and Neal's Mythical Entertainment agreed to buy the channel and unite their YouTube channels. Padilla was already out of the deal but Hecox has been with the brand all along. The duo did not appear publicly post that.

While speaking to Variety recently, Hecox explained their personal relationship saying:

"By the time Anthony left Smosh, our friendship was not really that good."

However, a year ago, the duo reconnected and rekindled their friendship. He added:

“It’s kind of freaky how well this has all fallen into place. Our friendship had to end to be able to come back together.”

Padilla said that their rift was because their "communications style was kind of stuck in that age of 17." But when they reconnected, they both had gone through a lot of growth. This led to Hecox suddenly turning to Padilla and asking what if they bought back their YouTube channel.

The duo is all set to release their first video in six years on Smosh's channel on June 30. This would be followed by new videos every two weeks. The specifics of Padilla and Hecox's buyout of Smosh have not yet been made public, although Rhett & Link will continue to serve as small shareholders and advisors.

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Edited by Nikita Nikhil