Redbox Acquisition Backfires: Chicken Soup for the Soul Files for Bankruptcy, Leaving Employees Unpaid and Uninsured

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jul 01, 2024

In 2022, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment acquired Redbox Entertainment for $370 million. This ambitious move was meant to expand their media empire.

However, this acquisition significantly increased the company’s debt, leading to unforeseen financial difficulties.

Mounting Debt Issues

Chicken Soup for the Soul now faces a staggering $970 million debt. This financial burden has trickled down to its employees, who have reportedly not received payment since June 21, 2024.

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The situation has left many employees struggling to make ends meet.

Health Insurance Lapse

Adding to the woes, employees have also reportedly been without health insurance since May 2024.

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The lack of medical benefits has caused significant distress among the staff, with some unable to afford necessary medical treatments.

Communication Breakdown

Several employees expressed their frustration with the lack of clear communication from management.

multiple notes with question mark and a magnifying glass

One senior executive told Deadline, “We haven’t heard anything over the past couple of days. Initially, they said checks would go out Tuesday at the latest. And now here we are.”

Bankruptcy Filing

On June 28, 2024, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection, hoping to stabilize its financial situation. Redbox Entertainment followed suit the next day.

bankruptcy petition documents

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This move aims to restructure the company’s overwhelming debt.

Potential Relief for Employees

The bankruptcy filing might offer some relief.

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A message sent to employees on June 29, 2024, indicated that court approval could jump-start payroll and reinstate medical benefits retroactively from May 14, 2024.


Debtor-in-Possession Loan

Chicken Soup for the Soul has applied for a debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan. This loan, if approved by the court, is expected to secure funds for immediate payroll and medical benefits.

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Employees remain hopeful yet cautious about this development.


Impact of Hollywood Strikes

The Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strike in 2023 further exacerbated the company’s financial woes.

White and red poster on the ground with the words “on strike”

Source: iStock

The strike led to a decrease in physical disc rentals, a key revenue source for the company, deepening its financial crisis.


Vendor and Filmmaker Payments

The company’s financial struggles have also affected payments to vendors and filmmakers. Some vendors have filed lawsuits due to missed payments.

A person handing another a ten-dollar bill.

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Recently, Chicken Soup for the Soul settled with NBC Universal but missed the first payment of the $16.7 million settlement.


Employee Morale

The ongoing financial crisis and lack of clear communication have severely impacted employee morale.

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Many staff members are uncertain about their future with the company, adding to the overall stress and anxiety.


Looking Ahead

The future of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment remains uncertain. The company is now focused on navigating the bankruptcy process and attempting to stabilize its operations.

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Employees and stakeholders alike are watching closely, hoping for a positive outcome.


Industry Repercussions

The bankruptcy of Chicken Soup for the Soul and Redbox Entertainment serves as a cautionary tale for the media industry.

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The acquisition that was supposed to bolster their position has instead led to financial ruin, highlighting the risks of aggressive expansion strategies.