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

GAC Media, a group formed by Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners and former executive of the Hallmark Channel group of companies, has acquired RIDE TV, a Fort Worth-based equestrian, culture and lifestyle network, as well as the Discovery Inc’s Great American Country Network.

GAC Media LLC, a newly formed group of US-based investors, will focus on lifestyle programming and is available in approximately 40 million television homes, according to a press release.

Together, GAC and RIDE TV are the first two channels in GAC Media’s broader effort to revitalize and invest in family programming that is both timeless and entertaining, according to the press release. Bill Abbott, an industry veteran who has operated and launched several cable channels that have become highly profitable audience leaders, particularly in the area of ​​Christmas content, will lead GAC and RIDE TV going forward in as President and CEO. Abbott, as CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, helped grow the popular Hallmark Channel. Among other key initiatives, Abbott will oversee a review of additional content opportunities while driving growth initiatives in advertising and distribution, according to the press 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 provides safe entertainment remains stronger than ever,” Abbott said in a press release. “GAC and RIDE TV represent fundamental strengths in this regard, and we look forward to growing both channels as we pursue the larger goal of establishing new family-friendly, well-resourced and engaging programming.”

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

Terms of the deal for GAC and the RIDE TV acquisitions, which have both been completed, were not disclosed.

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