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StyleHaul, the YouTube Fashion Network, Is for Sale

First Maker, then Fullscreen. What about this video network, with nearly a billion views per month?

Screenshot via YouTube/StyleHaul
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

It seems like lots of startups built on YouTube have decided now would be a good time to sell: Earlier this year Disney shocked many people by buying Maker Studios, and last month Fullscreen closed a deal with AT&T and The Chernin Group.

Now StyleHaul, the fashion network, is on the block.

Sources say the company, founded in 2011 by former Saks Fifth Avenue executive Stephanie Horbaczewski, is working with bankers from Guggenheim Partners. As is often the case, the party line is that the company is interested in either raising a new round or selling the whole thing.

Valuation will be interesting, since StyleHaul is considerably smaller than Maker and Fullscreen, but offers a much more targeted demographic of young women.

Maker, which had 5 billion views a month when Disney bought it, sold for $500 million with the possibility of another $450 million in earn-outs; Fullscreen, which has 3.5 billion views, is being valued in the $200 million to $300 million range. StyleHaul says it has 900 million views.

And there’s still an open question about the business model of all the big YouTube networks, which struggle to make money while sharing advertising revenue with the video site. That’s one reason all the big YouTube networks are trying to create businesses that generate money outside of YouTube, though almost all of those efforts are still in the conceptual stage.

Unlike the Fullscreen deal, when lots of big media companies and Internet players were conspicuously kicking tires, this one seems quieter. If I had to guess, I would assume that fashion publishers like Condé Nast/Advance Publications and Hearst have looked, though it’s possible that the network will attract financial investors/buyers as well.

StyleHaul takes its name from the “haul” genre of videos, which feature women showing off, item by item, what they’ve recently bought.

It has already attracted investment from media companies: In 2013, it raised $12.5 million, in rounds led by Bertelsmann’s Digital Media Investments and RTL Group; it has raised $17 million altogether.

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