Michael MacMillan buys controlling interest in GlassBox

The former Alliance Atlantis exec says the current mediascape offers an 'interesting environment' for smaller broadcast players.

Michael MacMillan is moving back into broadcasting by acquiring a controlling interest in GlassBox Television.

Blue Ant Media, which MacMillan controls as CEO, struck an agreement with GlassBox Television co-CEOs Jeffrey Elliott and Raja Khanna to purchase an initial 29.9% of the cross-platform broadcaster.

Blue Ant will also make an offer for additional shares in GlassBox from existing shareholders to take its ownership stake to a minimum 75% stake, pending CRTC approval.

‘I think there’s an interesting opportunity now for new players and new growth in the media world, and the wave of new technologies makes it easier for people to watch stuff and listen to things and read materials in all different ways,’ MacMillan says about the evolving media landscape.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but should become clearer when GlassBOX applies to the CRTC for regulatory approval.

GlassBox co-CEO Raja Khanna added recent consolidation in the Canadian broadcast sector has opened the way for smaller, indie players like his company to join the fray.

‘We think we can grow significantly with the channels we have,’ even before possible acquisitions, he added.

Former Alliance Atlantis Communications topper MacMillan in February announced a separate sideline gig in mobile game development.

MacMillan joined the board at Fuse Powered, the mobile game developer, where he will help senior management, led by chairman Yung Wu and CEO Jon Walsh, execute their business strategy.

The veteran Canadian media exec is best known for co-founding Atlantis Films in 1978 before going on to acquire rival Alliance Communications to form Alliance Atlantis Communications, the indie producer and broadcaster.

That major Canadian player was sold in 2007, leaving MacMillan to co-own a winery, engage in charity work and consider a possible run for political office.

MacMillan’s play for GlassBox Television will shake up its executive suite.

MacMillan will become executive chairman of the company, and help steer the company’s strategic growth; Jay Switzer will step down as chairman of the board; Raja Khanna will become CEO and Jeffrey Elliott will move into the new post of president and chief strategy officer.

GlassBOX Television’s digital and broadcast properties include Bite TV, AUX TV and the newly acquired Travel & Escape Channel.

MacMillan wasn’t tipping his hand Monday on his plans for GlassBox Television, but did indicate the industry should stay tuned.

‘Just watch us, I guess. We’ll make moves as time goes on,’ he said.

From Playback Daily