Guggenheim Prepares To Sell Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions To Exec

By David Lieberman, Anita Busch

Guggenheim Partners is about to unload The Hollywood Reporter and other media properties to the investment firm’s president, Todd Boehly, following years of losses, we’re told.

Guggenheim has not responded to a request for comment.

Boehly, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will have a controlling stake in three companies. One will include THR and Billboard. Another will house Mediabistro, Adweek, the Clio Awards, and TVNewser. And a third will consist of Dick Clark Productions.

Guggenheim will not have an interest in the properties. Boehly will give up his job as Guggenheim’s president and just serve on its executive council.

The news, first reported by The Wrap, appears to end the investment firm’s effort to become a media power.

THR is believed to be losing about $2.5 million a month.

“This was not surprising as they have not been doing well,” one banker tells us. “We heard that this was about to happen.”

Guggenheim’s media aspirations expanded in 2009 when, in a partnership with Pluribus Capital Management, it bought THR and other publications owned by Nielsen. In 2012 it also picked up Dick Clark Productions.

The following year Guggenheim took full control of the magazines and created Guggenheim Digital Media, hiring former Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn to run it. The secretive investment firm vowed to allocate “significant capital to acquire and invest in new media companies and properties that will meaningfully expand its current portfolio.”

One year later, the company revamped the operation, naming THR editor Janice Min co-President of Guggenheim’s Entertainment Group, reporting to Boehly. Levinsohn and much of his team were gone by mid-2014.

This past August Guggenheim paid a $20 million fine to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission charge that one of its units, Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, breached its fiduciary duty. A senior executive borrowed $50 million from a client in 2010 to pay for personal investment in a Guggenheim-led acquisition. Shortly afterward the lender invested in other Guggenheim transactions under different terms than other clients.

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