Gaiam, Inc. was a global lifestyle and media company that provided solutions to consumers who value personal development, wellness, natural health, and family along with inspirational and educational entertainment. The company was a vertically-integrated, multi-platform brand, content producer, licensor and distributor in the high-growth Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (“LOHAS”) and conscious media space.
Vivendi SA is a French multinational mass media conglomerate with operations in music, television, film, video games, telecommunications, ticketing and video hosting services. Vivendi’s wholly owned subsidiary Universal Music Group (“UMG”) determined to divest its Vivendi Entertainment division, which comprised its video entertainment distribution assets, as part of a strategy to shift resources away from non-core (i.e., video distribution) activities to core music distribution operations. Gaiam desired to acquire Vivendi Entertainment so that it could combine it with its Gaiam Americas subsidiary which distributed fitness and media products to retailers so as to achieve greater economies of scale. As UMG was conducting an auction, Gaiam’s board of directors determined that management required the expertise of a seasoned investment banker. Two members of the board independently recommended Greif & Co.