Negotiations are nearly wrapped up with the private equity firm that launched in April to focus on acquiring minority stakes in professional sports franchises and provide franchise owners with growth capital and liquidity solutions.
Levy left Turner in March of 2019 after three decades at the broadcaster and six years as president following AT&T’s acquisition of parent Time Warner. He was key in securing NBA rights for Turner Sports and partnering with CBS and the NCAA on rights to Men’s College Basketball Championships.
Arctos is looking to create a diversified portfolio of passive sports franchise interests in what it calls “a highly inefficient $300 billion market.” Minority sports ownership positions can be hard to buy and tough to sell. The firm and the fund it’s raising – the first of its kind — want to help smooth that process. In the current coronavirus environment, it could be a boon to minority owners who need to cash out.
“When we formed Arctos in late 2019, we saw an opportunity to partner with leagues and franchise owners to improve liquidity and access to growth capital. The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the global economy is significant and very acute in the sports and live entertainment ecosystem,” said David O’Connor, who founded the firm with Ian Charles, in a statement at the firm’s official launch last month.
“Businesses across all sectors need access to capital as they recover from this disruption and we want to be part of the solution and a long-term partner to leagues and franchise owners,” he said.
O’Connor was previously CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company and longtime managing partner at Creative Artists Agency. Charles was previously a partner at PE firm Landmark Partners and a co-founder of Cogent Partners.
Other founding partners include Joseph Nasr, who worked with Charles at Cogent and Landmark and then moved to Z Capital and Stellus Capital, and Jordan Solomon, a colleague of O’Connor as exec VP of MSG Sports and former exec with the National Basketball Association.