Candle Media, the entertainment and media rollup venture headed by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has made two senior hires: Brent Weinstein, a longtime UTA partner, and Salil Mehta, former president of FoxNext Games.
Weinstein is slated to join Candle as chief development officer on Feb. 1, while Mehta’s appointment as CFO was effective Jan. 3. Both execs are based in L.A. and report to Mayer and Staggs, co-CEOs of Candle Media.
So far, Candle Media — which is backed by private-equity firm Blackstone — has made three acquisitions: Kids’ media company Moonbug Entertainment, owner of the CoComelon franchise, for about $3 billion; Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine for $900 million; and Faraway Road, producer of Netflix’s “Fauda,” for under $50 million. The company also has made a minority investment in Westbrook, the media company co-founded by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith.
Weinstein will oversee new business development with an emphasis on social media, the creator economy, ecommerce and Web3-centric opportunities. Mehta will lead Candle’s overall financial operations in conjunction with the finance teams at each of the company’s business units.
“We’ve known both Brent and Salil for many years and they are a fantastic addition to our core team at Candle,” Mayer and Staggs said in a statement. “Each brings substantial experience and expertise, and they will be instrumental in facilitating growth across our portfolio of companies and helping us identify new investment and business development opportunities.”
Weinstein spent nearly 20 years at UTA, most recently serving as a senior partner and chief innovation officer. He launched the agency’s entry into the digital talent business and oversaw development of UTA’s live events, podcasting, investment ventures and NFT divisions. Weinstein also co-managed UTA’s Insights and News divisions and led growth strategies for additional practice areas including its global music business.
During his tenure at UTA, Weinstein worked with Brian Robbins to develop and launch youth-focused digital network AwesomenessTV and ultimately sell it to Viacom. He also created Keywords Press, an influencer-focused publishing imprint in partnership with Simon & Schuster.
Weinstein commented, “Kevin, Tom and Blackstone have an inspiring vision for leveraging the technology-driven convergence of — and significant opportunities within — content, community and commerce.”
Mehta brings more than 25 years of financial, strategic and operating experience to Candle, most recently serving as CFO of Forest Road Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) set up by Mayer and Staggs that is separate from Candle Media.
Mehta has held senior executive roles at media companies including Disney, ESPN, Comcast/NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox. Mehta previously served as president of 21st Century Fox’s FoxNext Games, and helped orchestrate the sale of that business to Scopely after Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
“Tom and Kevin are simply the best at seeing around corners in this industry, and to be able to join them and Blackstone in their effort to build the modern media company is a simply a dream come true,” Mehta said in a statement. “I have been a colleague of Tom and Kevin’s at Disney, and then, while at NBCU and Fox, had to compete with the Disney they helped build — I greatly prefer being their colleague once again!”