Barstool Sports sells majority stake to investment firm

A screenshot from Barstool Sports’ ‘emergency press conference’ in New York City’s Times Square.
A screenshot from Barstool Sports’ ‘emergency press conference’ in New York City’s Times Square. –Screenshot / YouTube

Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy is no longer the majority owner of the controversial sports and culture blog, he said in an “emergency press conference’’ Thursday in New York City’s Times Square.

The Massachusetts-based company sold a majority stake to an investment firm, the Chernin Group, which specializes in media, and will move its offices to Manhattan in the next six to eight months, Portnoy, who is known as “El Presidente,’’ said from Times Square.

“Do I like Manhattan? No. Do I want to be in Manhattan? No,’’ he said.

However, Portnoy said it was his idea to set up shop in the Big Apple.

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“We firmly believe having us all together in a fantasy factory-type environment will mean funnier, more unique content,’’ he said.

As for the sale, which was outlined in Fortune magazine, Portnoy said the Chernin Group can take the decade-old Barstool to the next level on the business-side of the operation.

“We have very smart people who are going to help us succeed,’’ he said.

As for editorial, Portnoy said he’ll still be in complete control.

“Even though I’m not the majority owner of Barstool anymore I’m still 100% in charge of content,’’ he wrote in a blog post accompanying the video from Times Square. “This was not my cash out moment. This was our best shot to literally take this thing to the moon. To swing for the fences.’’

Mike Kerns, president of digital at the Chernin Group, echoed Portnoy in an interview with Re/code.

“Barstool has 100 percent control of editorial, we’re never going to pressure them to do anything. Nothing to add beyond that,’’ Kerns told Re/code.

Kerns and Jesse Jacobs, the firm’s president, will sit on Barstool’s board, according to Re/code. Peter Chernin runs the firm.

The same day as the announcement, “The Cauldron,’’ a Sports Illustrated blog, chronicled Barstool’s most recent controversy.

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Kerns told Fortune the two sides “talked a lot about’’ the site’s penchant to offend.

“We certainly understand that there’s an element of controversial topics and off-color content and programming. … So there is certainly an element that isn’t going to be for everyone,’’ he said.

“They understand what makes us tick and don’t want to change it at all,’’ Portnoy wrote. “That’s the only way I’d ever agree to something like this.’’

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Portnoy did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Boston.com.

Correction: An initial version of this story incorrectly stated the Chernin Group was based in New York.

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