Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker on the hunt for entertainment, media and sports companies

Jeff Zucker, who led CNN for nearly a decade, will manage $1 billion in capital contributed by Abu Dhabi-backed International Media Investments, IMI and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners to pursue attractive M&A opportunities in the media space. and entertainment.

The funding goes to a partnership called RedBird IMI, and will likely seek assets similar to those in the portfolio of Redbird, which has $7 billion in capital under management and deep ties to the entertainment industry, most recently backing Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in November in a vehicle called Artists Equity (AE).

AE is an artist-led studio expanding access to profit sharing, driving intellectual property monetization through creator partnerships, and leveraging a data-driven approach to content distribution. The first project features Affleck as a director and Damon as the lead in a film about the real-life story behind the Air Jordan brand. It is being produced in association with Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures.

“Historically, the success of a film was based on its performance at the box office. Now, with the rise of streaming, the business behind movie-making has inherently changed. However, Ben and I know that the power will remain in the hands of the creators, no matter which direction the industry evolves in,” said Matt Damon, AE’s chief content officer.

Essentially, the company is set up to put more of the profits from movies and TV shows in the hands of talent. Many in Hollywood have chafed at profit-sharing deals that are based on the traditional revenue model in which most revenue is derived from the box office and DVD.

With streaming taking off and many content companies quickly moving movies out of the box office window onto their own streaming services, many high-profile actors, directors and producers have claimed they aren’t getting their fair share of the profits.

Another company Redbird has a stake in is Skydance Media, which was formed by David Ellison and has produced hits like Top Gun: Maverick and the Jack Ryan TV show on Apple.
Prime Video, as well as Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning and Transformers: Rise of the Beast (both coming out next year).

Other investments include a portion of Fenway Sports Group (which owns the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park and Liverpool Football Club) and LeBron James’ SpringHill.

SpringHill, which produces “The Shop” on HBO, the Warner Bros. movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and other content, was valued at $725 million when RedBird, Nike and Epic Games (producer of Fortnite) acquired an equity stake in the company last year.

IMI was established in the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority and focuses on global investments in digital media, although to date the majority of its investments have been in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
United Arab Emirates
). Assets in his portfolio include Al Roeya (a UAE print and digital Arabic publication), EuroNews, The National (also a UAE news service) and Sky News Arabia.

Zucker, the former chief executive of NBC Universal, left office after Comcast
he acquired the company in 2011. He later joined CNN in 2013 and resigned in 2022 after it was discovered that he failed to disclose a romantic relationship with one of its top employees.

“As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo’s tenure at CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I have worked with for more than 20 years,” Zucker told employees in a memo. “I recognized that the relationship has evolved in recent years. I was asked to reveal when it started, but I didn’t. I was wrong. As a result, I resign today.”

Zucker increased cash flow at CNN US by 163% to more than $900 million during his tenure there. IMI has a long-standing relationship with CNN, which has a large media bureau in Abu Dhabi, and this helped pave the way for this deal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *