I’ve confirmed that Tom Barrack, president of California-based Colony Capital, is putting together a $500M media fund with of all people TV star Rob Lowe and a couple of other investors. Barrack, whose real estate investment firm co-owns Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch and stepped in to bail out photographer Annie Leibovitz after she couldn’t meet interest payments on a $24 million loan and faced losing her home, invests in entertainment businesses with a bricks-and-mortar component such as casinos or cinema chains (the Mars in Turkey). Colony Capital currently has $30 billion of assets under management.
Barrack and Lowe have been discussing their unnamed fund for some years but so far have bought nothing except for a new round of media attention during a recent London visit. “Barrack brought Rob the idea that there are a lot of media properties that need financing,” one insider tells me. They were spotted entering the fashionable C restaurant – Madonna’s favourite – to meet its owner Flavio Briatore, the Italian entrepreneur whose yacht was seized last month by Italian police for tax evasion. Lowe and Barrack were later seen at a party given by tennis star Boris Becker.