Longtime Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin‘s indie company has just received a new infusion of capital to help with his goal of expanding into a global media company “across all fronts with this additional expertise and resources”. Led by Providence Equity Partners, the investors are taking what’s being called a “significant minority equity stake” in his television/movie/Internet company The Chernin Group. The official announcement will be made Monday morning. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Deadline has learned the investment is $200M. Chernin and Providence CEO Jonathan Nelson became chummy while they worked together to establish the online video site Hulu as a joint venture with NBCUniversal. The pair tell the Financial Times they also looked at making a bid for Yahoo together over a year — but then decided against it. They say the new partnership would have the resources to pursue “any deal of any size” around the world, from making multibillion-dollar bids to incubating start-ups. And they say their first deals are “very close” and could be announced within weeks.
As part of the transaction, representatives of the Providence-led group will join the Chernin Group’s Board of Directors. The former No. 2 to Rupert Murdoch at News Corp until he resigned in 2009 to go it alone, Chernin himself will become a senior advisor to Providence. In turn, the Chernin Group “intends to leverage its partners’ expertise and resources to expand and diversify the global media and entertainment operating company”, an insider tells me. “TCG and Providence will work together to invest in, acquire, build and operate media assets around the world, with a particular focus on the U.S., as well as emerging markets such as Asia, particularly in India, Indonesia, and China. Capital raised in the transaction will be used primarily for TCG investments.” The investment bankers Allen & Company represented the Chernin Group on the deal. Legal advisors included Ziffren Brittenham, and Gibson Dunn, and O’Melveny & Myers for the Chernin Group and Weil Gotshal & Manges for Providence.
Chernin’s company consists of Chernin Entertainment, which is the media production company he set up after leaving News Corp with a rich package including ‘put’ TV shows and movie deals. Plus a majority stake in CA Media, an Asia-based media investment company. And several strategic investments in U.S.-based technology and media companies. Chernin Entertainment produced last summer’s hit feature film Rise Of the Planet Of The Apes and is currently in production on director Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi thriller Oblivion starring Tom Cruise. The film comedy Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler will be released in December 2012. The company has been faster off the mark on TV series. it’s had four shows on the air: the supernatural thriller Touch on Fox with Kiefer Sutherland, the hit sitcom New Girl on Fox with Zoey Deschanel, the expensive scifi Terra Nova on Fox, the animated comedy Allen Gregory also on Fox, and the crime drama Breakout Kings on A&E. Both Terra Nova and Allen Gregory were cancelled. Chernin Entertainment has 2 pilots in contention for the 2012-2013 season, both comedies: Ned Fox Is My Manny at Fox and an as-yet-untitled series written by Nick Stoller at CBS.
The Chernin Group’s majority-owned CA Media based in Hong Kong focuses on investing in Asia, particularly India, Indonesia, and China and has made a series of investments in U.S. digital media ventures, including Pandora, Tumblr, and Flipboard. Chernin founded the company with Paul Aiello, a former CEO of News Corp’s Star TV group in Asia.
Providence Equity Partners is a leading global private equity firm whose principals manage funds with over $23B in equity investments in more than 100 companies operating in over 20 countries. Its past and present stakes include Hulu, Univision, MGM, Warner Music Group, Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, Nextag, and VoiceStream Wireless. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, it also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Beijing and New Delhi.
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