Charles D. King’s Macro has raised a $90 million minority investment from BlackRock Alternatives, HarbourView Partners and funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Macro will use the influx of capital to expand its multiplatform operations across production, branding and talent representation units, said King, who is founder and CEO of Macro. The company will also work to diversify its revenue streams with businesses that build a direct connection with consumers.
A former WME partner, King launched Macro in 2015 to focus on content that amplifies underrepresented voices to capitalize on the untapped business opportunity. Macro previously raised an additional $150 million in a 2017 round of equity and debt financing that included such investors as Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation, W.W. Kellogg Foundation and the Libra Foundation.
“With the global power of a partner like BlackRock Alternatives as well as our new additional investors, we are extremely well-positioned to build on the vast opportunities in the media and entertainment arena, both in the U.S. and abroad,” King said. “This next phase for Macro is to extend our reach by fueling each business vertical with the appropriate human and financial resources to unleash the full potential of the Macro ecosystem. In particular, we will markedly expand our efforts in the development and ownership of IP, strengthen our connectivity with consumers and broaden the range of services provided by our brand vertical and representation partnership.”
BlackRock’s investment flowed through its BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund, which seeks out “compelling investment opportunities” for clients with an emphasis on businesses owned or led by people of color.
“Macro has an established track record of producing premium, award-winning TV and film content focused on people of color, which has historically been short in supply but high in demand,” said Pam Chan, Chief Investment Officer & Global Head, BlackRock’s Alternative Solutions Group. “We are pleased to make this investment on behalf of our clients, and look forward to partnering with Charles and Macro’s management team to further the company’s mission of increasing representation of persons of color across its media verticals.”
Macro’s work as an incubator and producer such as films as 2021’s “Judas and the Black Messiah” — for which King, Ryan Coogler and filmmaker Shaka King made history as the first all-Black producing team nominated for best picture — has the power to help close the equity gap for Black Americans, in the eyes of HarbourView Equity Partners founder and CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares.
“Macro has a deep understanding for how to shape culture and economically empower the voice and perspectives of Black people and people of color on a global level and is a perfect fit for our vision of the next generation of multiplatform media companies,” said Soares. “By introducing new images, ideas and paradigms that reflect the dynamic world in which we live, Macro is uniquely positioned to bridge the $15 billion-plus equity gap in Hollywood by creating culturally authentic and socially relevant content.”
Macro’s operations include a traditional film studio (Macro Film Studios), a busy TV production shop (Macro Television Studios), an in-house brand creative agency (Brand Macro), and a brand and talent management division (UNCMMN) representation division. In 2020, Macro also launched a broader management firm, M88, with WME veteran Phillip Sun to guide the careers of creative talent. The new round of funding will be devoted in part to growing M88’s ability to maximize “its multi-hyphenate clients’ growth potential across all of their creative and commercial endeavors.”
King and Macro’s Bobby Singh, exec VP of strategy and operations, led the investment drive with Moelis & Co.’s Carlos Jimenez and Angus Whelchel as financial advisors. Legal advisors were Latham & Watkins’ Ken Deutsch and Corey Martin of Granderson Des Rochers. Raine Group and Ropes & Gray were financial and legal advisors, respectively, to BlackRock in the transaction. Sidley Austin repped HarbourView.
News of the investment comes hours after King was honored with the Industry Leadership Award on Sunday night at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors, where he was feted alongside Kerry Washington, Courtney B. Vance, Janelle Monáe and “Eve’s Bayou” filmmaker Kasi Lemmons and members of the film’s cast.
“It’s been eight years since we’ve launched and we’ve seen the seeds that we planted sprout beautifully here, in the critical acclaim we’ve gotten through 20+ projects we’ve been involved in, they’ve all performed well on global platform,” King told Variety on the red carpet, reflecting on the company’s success thus far and forecasting the future.
Among those recent successes was the historic debut of “Creed III,” which became the first sports film in history to surpass $100M in its opening weekend globally. The film’s director-star Michael B. Jordan is managed by M88.
“It’s a full-circle moment, to be honest with you. It’s quite an exciting time,” King said of the film’s box office domination. “I remember the day that Ryan Coogler pitched ‘Creed’ to me in my office, over 10 years ago. I remember when he told me about ‘Fruitvale Station,’ when I read that script, I said ‘What else do you have?’ and he told me this beautiful idea.”
King got to know Jordan around the same time, and says that watching what the pair has accomplished since, both individually and together, is remarkable, especially in the “way that they’re using their voices and their platform to uplift us.”
He continued: “That, to me, shows what happens when we come together, the power that we have collectively and the way that we can use that to open up the doors for others, but also to generate revenue that goes back to our community. [“Creed III”] is just one shining example of what will continue to happen, as we see change in our industry and as we continue to have global impact.”
Additional reporting by Angelique Jackson