October 28, 2020

Kevin Mayer in Talks to Join RedBird Capital

Before his interlude at TikTok, the short-form viral video app, Mr. Mayer was Disney’s top streaming executive, overseeing the successful rollout of Disney+ last year. But he spent most of his 20-plus years at Disney as a deals maven. Mr. Mayer engineered the company’s blockbuster purchases of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. He also carried out Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, which brought Hulu and Hotstar, an overseas streaming service, under Disney control.

Mr. Mayer’s résumé suggests that RedBird’s aspirations in the media arena are more significant than previously realized. Mr. Cardinale’s firm (named for the songbird suggested by his last name) has mostly flown under the radar; early investments included Aethon United, a Texas natural gas producer, and TierPoint, a Missouri data center operator.

In February, however, RedBird unveiled an investment in Skydance Media, a fast-growing film, television and gaming studio founded by David Ellison, whose father is the Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. (Oracle is now in the middle of a potential TikTok transaction intended to address the Trump administration’s concerns about the app’s ties to China.)

Mr. Cardinale’s firm also owns part of the YES network — a stake that links RedBird to Amazon’s streaming division. Last year, an investment group that included Amazon, Sinclair Broadcast Group, RedBird and Yankee Global Enterprises bought YES from Disney for an estimated $3.5 billion.

RedBird has also been increasingly active in sports.

Last month, RedBird bought the rowdy XFL football league in partnership with the actor Dwayne Johnson and his business partner, Dany Garcia. In July, RedBird purchased the Toulouse Football Club, a French soccer team. Also in July, RedBird joined with Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics executive, to start a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, dedicated to sports.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/business/kevin-mayer-tiktok-redbird.html

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