An Ashton Kutcher-backed media company is going public


Ashton Kutcher
Ashton
Kutcher, backer of Chicken Soup for the Soul.


Mario
Anzuoni/Reuters



An Ashton Kutcher-backed company has launched an initial public
offering on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Chicken Soup for the
Soul
, the publishing company known for its inspirational book
series by the same name, plans to raise $30 million in an initial
public offering for the firm’s entertainment unit, according to a
news release. Chicken
Soup for the Soul Entertainment
is set to trade under the
ticker CSSE.

The unit is going public via a Regulation A+ IPO. The new type of
initial public offering allows firms to raise up to $50 million
from mom-and-pop investors. According to a media representative
for the firm, the offering “will close at the discretion of the
company.”

Regulation A+ has made it easier for early-stage ventures like
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment to essentially
crowdsource investment in a “mini-IPO.” It’s like Kickstarter,
except investors become real shareholders.

The idea behind Regulation A+, a component of the 2015 Jobs
Act
, was to open startup investing to Main Street, as long as
Main Streeters don’t put in more than 10% of their income or
assets. And as part of the rules, there are fewer requirements
and regulations for companies than a full-fledged IPO.

To be sure, this worries
some regulators
who think non-sophisticated investors may not
fully understand what they are getting into.

“We urge people to look at
our filing with the SEC
to see we have a very strong business
with a very viable path forward,” Bill Rouhana, CEO and chairman
of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment told Business Insider.
“Going public affords our loyal fans and others the opportunity
to participate in the growth of our video content business.”

Rouhana thinks Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment could be
the next Netflix for inspirational content.

In 2016, Chicken Soup for the Soul purchased Aplus, an Ashton
Kutcher-backed media company. The actor turned venture capitalist
remained an investor in the company following its acquisition by
Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment produces a wide range of
video content including reality TV shows such as Project
Dad
, which follows the lives of three celebrity dads, and
The
Sip
, a series of shorts inspirational videos.

“Anything that has something to do with human emotion and the
human spirit is relevant content,” Bill Rouhana, CEO of Chicken
Soup for the Soul told Business Insider.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is the third Reg A+
listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to Stephanie
Lowenstein, a Nasdaq spokeswoman.

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