Meet the 11 private equity firms including TPG and KKR that are betting big on digital
- Private equity firms have been pouring money into digital media.
- Some smaller players have set their sites on niche media brands, while giants are eyeing Hollywood.
- From North Equity to KKR, here are 11 private equity firms betting big on digital media.
The digital-media industry has seen waves of funding from investors ranging from venture capitalists to traditional media giants trying to diversify their holdings. Lately, another group has been getting more into the space: private-equity firms.
“There’s a lot of upside, and for the first time in a while, it’s an exciting time to invest in the future of media,” said Lance Johnson, the CEO of Recurrent, a private-equity backed media company which owns Popular Science. “Despite the recent disruptions in the industry, a lot of media companies are emerging from the pandemic on an upward trajectory.”
Private-equity interest has boosted M&A activity for media. PwC estimated that there were more than 170 private equity deals for media and telecom totaling $55 billion during the first half of 2021, a record number.
While some private-equity firms have targeted Hollywood, like RedBird Capital Partners, which participated in a round valuing Lebron James’ and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Co. at $725 million, others like North Equity, which backs Recurrent, have sought to revitalize smaller, down-on-their luck digital-media brands.
One prominent investor who didn’t want to be named said Europe was much slower than the US to embrace digital media, creating opportunities in content,
and e-commerce-driven media that are early in their growth cycle. This person likened the traditional media to the music business of the ’90s, when it was left for dead, only to be resurrected two decades later. Vivendi-backed Universal Music, which has a stake in Spotify, made its public debut in September, valuing the business at $53 billion.
Insider has compiled a list of 11 top private-equity firms pouring money into digital media.