Tucker Carlson lands first major ad deal, investment interest for new media company

Tucker Carlson has struck an ad deal worth more than $1 million with PublicSq, an online marketplace for companies with conservative values, two sources familiar with the agreement told Axios.

Driving the news: Omeed Malik, the chief executive and chairman of the board of the blank check company looking to take PublicSq public this month, is also planning to invest in Carlson’s company, sources told Axios.

  • Malik is also planning to invest seven or eight figures in Carlson’s media empire through his private investment firm, 1789 Capital, a source told Axios.
  • 1789 Capital focuses investments in companies that support the “Replication/Parallel Economy,” “Deglobalization” and “Anti-ESG (i.e. sectors that have been negatively impacted by such principles).”

Why it matters: The ad deal represents the first commercial agreement that will be part of Carlson’s new media venture.

  • Carlson, The Wall Street Journal reported, is looking to raise a significant amount of money to launch his own digital media company.
  • The Journal story, which said Carlson is looking to raise “hundreds of millions” of dollars, triggered sizable investor interest from both private investment companies and wealthy individuals, a source told Axios.

Details: Beginning in August, PublicSq will run ads on Carlson’s show on Twitter, which streams for free.

  • The deal is being brokered through Carlson’s team and PublicSq directly, a source said, although The Journal reported that Carlson’s team has been in touch with Twitter about expanding its partnership.
  • PublicSq is expected to merge with Colombier Acquisition Corp., the blank check company run by Malik, to go public later this month, Axios has reported.
  • The ad campaign will be PublicSq’s first major marketing push as a public company.
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How it works: Carlson’s new venture will center around video primarily, both through an owned and operated website and app, and through free video distributed on Twitter, and possibly other social platforms.

  • Carlson has been pitching investors on the idea that some of the video will eventually be put behind a paywall on his own site, a source told Axios.
  • Carlson is working with a number of people to help launch the venture, including his former executive producer at Fox News Justin Wells and Neil Patel, a former advisor to then Vice President Dick Cheney and the publisher of conservative news site Daily Caller, which he co-founded with Carlson in 2010, sources told Axios.
  • One source, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the discussions, noted that it’s unlikely the new venture would include an acquisition of The Daily Caller.
  • A spokesperson representing Carlson did not respond to comment. A spokesperson representing PublicSq and Malik did not comment. Twitter replied for a request to comment with a poop emoji.
  • CNBC was the first to report the news of the ad deal and investment discussions Sunday evening.

The big picture: Carlson is currently embroiled in a legal battle with his former employer Fox News.

  • He has argued that Fox News breached his contract when its senior executives reneged on promises made to Carlson “intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth.”
  • Fox News argues Carlson violated his contract when he launched his own Twitter show last month.

What to watch: Other former Fox News personalities, such as Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly, have gone on to build their own independent media entities upon leaving the cable news sphere.

  • O’Reilly makes money from selling subscriptions to his content online.
  • Kelly launched her own firm, called Devil May Care Media, in 2020. It includes video content, podcasts and a newsletter anchored by Kelly’s commentary about current events.
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