A private investment firm known for its “Project Black” initiative has completed a strategic acquisition in which it now holds a 58.5% stake in My Code, a multicultural media and marketing services company with roots in the U.S. Hispanic market.
The deal sees Ariel Alternatives’ Project Black obtain the stake in My Code, formerly H Code, from Falfurrias Capital Partners, My Code management and employees, and other investors.
The investment has an enterprise valuation of $400 million, based on current and future performance projections.
The sellers will continue to own a minority interest in the company.
Founded in 2015, My Code was initially created to provide offerings for advertisers to reach U.S. Hispanic consumers. Since its launch, My Code has expanded its products to address Black, Asian, and LGBTQ consumers.
My Code boasts more than 1,200 consumer media platforms that reach diverse audiences. Additionally, My Code is presently the owner of New York-area Spanish-language tabloid El Diario, formerly an ImpreMedia product that, like many newspapers, has suffered from extreme declines in revenue and circulation; digital media brand Remezcla; and advertising-based video on demand platform Butaca TV.
“To date, My Code has helped brands invest over $250 million in advertising spend to reach multicultural audiences,” the company says, adding that the acquisition enables My Code to pursue future expansion “through alignment with an investor that shares its mission.”
Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, the first African American-owned mutual fund company in the United States.
This transaction is the third of Ariel Alternatives’ inaugural $1.45 billion fund, Project Black, which closed in February 2023.
In the long term, Project Black intends to transform portfolio companies like My Code into certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) and position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, fueling greater business diversity across the United States and beyond. Certified MBEs in the multicultural space include Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS).
With the investment, a new slate of directors are now on the My Code board:
- Leslie A. Brun is Co-Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ariel Alternatives and previous founder of Hamilton Lane, a leading global private markets investment management firm. He brings over four decades of financial expertise and an entrepreneurial spirit that will support My Code’s growth ambitions.
- Eric Brice is a Senior Principal of Ariel Alternatives. He will leverage two decades of private equity, venture capital, and investment banking experience to partner with the My Code team on pursuing future add-on product portfolio acquisitions.
- Clara Fagan is a Senior Vice President of Ariel Alternatives. She brings over a decade of expertise with an emphasis on private markets and impact investing, helping My Code ensure that its business strategy aligns with its social purpose.
Brun commented,: “Today marks our Fund’s first acquisition in the marketing and advertising sector. We chose to partner with a business that shares our passion for speaking directly to diverse audiences, ultimately closing the racial information and opportunity gap. We will work hard to scale My Code by providing access to both capital and customers.”
Parker Morse is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of My Code. He commented, “We are exceptionally proud of the partnerships My Code has built over the last eight years with the many brands, creators, and publishers who have put their trust in our Company. We are humbled that Ariel Alternatives sees our growth potential as well. With a new investment partner by our side, we look forward to working with both new and existing clients to help them understand, embrace, and reach the underrepresented communities driving economic growth in our country.”
Wilkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal advisor to Ariel Alternatives, and commercial and financial diligence were performed by McKinsey & Company and Deloitte LLP, respectively. Additional social impact diligence was conducted by Bridge House Advisors and Insight Sourcing Group on behalf of Ariel Alternatives. The Raine Group LLP served as financial advisor to My Code and Falfurrias Capital Partners, with Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. also advising. K&L Gates LLP served as legal advisor to My Code and Falfurrias Capital Partners, and Cooley LLP served as legal counsel to Parker Morse.