Bank, fund to invest in entertainment biz

LONDON

Boutique merchant bank the Raine Group, backed by Google exec chairman Eric Schmidt, has pacted with China Media Capital to invest in entertainment, digital media and sports in China and elsewhere.

State-owned CMC, which manages a ¥5 billion ($805 million) fund, claims to be China’s first media sector-focused alternative investment management company.

It formed a joint venture last year with DreamWorks Animation, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment to set up a China-focused family entertainment company.

It has also built Star China, a joint venture with News Corp., into one of the top TV production companies in China.

Raine controls funds worth about $500 million. Investors include Schmidt, Facebook board member Marc Andreessen and Terry Semel, the former Hollywood topper and Yahoo chief exec.

“We believe the media sector in China is on the cusp of a significant growth trajectory, as demand for international content in China continues to increase, and Chinese media companies continue to expand globally,” said Raine co-founder Joseph Ravitch.

Ravitch, who is a former Goldman Sachs banker, advised on the sale of MGM and helped the NBA set up its business in China.

Raine recently paid $60 million for a 20% stake in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Important Studios.

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