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Fort Worth’s RIDE TV network acquired in deal with Hicks Equity, former Hallmark Channel leader

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GAC Media, a group formed by Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners and a former leader of the Hallmark Channel group of companies, has acquired RIDE TV, a Fort Worth-based, 24-hour equestrian sports, culture and lifestyle network, along with the Great American Country Network from Discovery Inc.

GAC Media LLCa newly-formed group of U.S.-based investors, will focus on lifestyle programming and is available in approximately 40 million television households, according to a news release.

Together, GAC and RIDE TV constitute the first two channels in GAC Media’s larger effort to revitalize and invest in family-friendly programming that is both timeless and entertaining, according to the news release. Bill Abbott, an industry veteran who has operated and launched several cable channels that became highly profitable ratings leaders, especially in the area of Christmas content, will run GAC and RIDE TV moving forward as President & CEO. Abbott, as CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, helped develop the popular Hallmark Channel. Among other key initiatives, Abbott will oversee a review of additional content opportunities while leading growth initiatives in advertising and distribution, according to the news release.  

“Even as the entertainment ecosystem continues to rapidly evolve – both in terms of distribution platforms and underlying content – consumer interest in family-friendly programming that enriches lives and offers safe entertainment options remains as strong as ever,” Abbott said in a news release. “GAC and RIDE TV represent cornerstone assets in this respect, and we look forward to growing both channels even as we pursue the larger goal of establishing new, well-resourced and engaging family-friendly programming.”

GAC Media was organized by Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners LLC and Abbott and includes U.S.-based family offices. Hicks Equity Partners is the private equity arm of the Thomas O. Hicks family office.

Deal terms for GAC and the RIDE TV acquisitions, both of which have closed, were not disclosed.

RIDE TV was formed in 2014 by media executive Michael Fletcher and Craig Morris, a National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer; John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair care products and Patron Spirits; Kenneth Jones, a longtime Fort Worth attorney and financier; and Tom Moncrief and Jay Meadows of Fort Worth, along with other investors.

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