Former CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Has a New Job at RedBird IMI. What Is It?

Since leaving CNN a year ago, the network’s former president, Jeff Zucker, has been seeking deals with $1 billion in backing from big media and financial investors.

Private equity firm Redbird Capital Partners and UAE government-linked funder International Media Investments focus Zucker’s media industry track record on promising investments in digital media betting that it will help you hit the , sports, entertainment and news.

In addition to Zucker, key players in the new venture, known as Redbird IMI, are Redbird CEO and founder Jerry Cardinale and the emirate, who has led many of IMI’s investment negotiations. Federal Minister Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber. in the United States. Cardinale is Chief Investment Officer of Redbird IMI, and Al Jaber serves as Chairman.

RedBird has invested $250 million in the venture, and IMI has agreed to invest the remaining $750 million. The men met last fall in a suite overlooking Abu Dhabi’s F1 racetrack to discuss business.

Since Zucker started his business last year, dozens of former CNN employees, agents and corporate development executives have made the pilgrimage to his offices on Madison Avenue near Manhattan’s Central Park. At those meetings, he offered his views on the future of entertainment, sports and news, considering various investment opportunities.

Zucker, referring to the company run by two former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Stags, described Redbird IMI as “candle media but half the price.” Candle Media has spent billions of dollars in cash and stock to acquire and consolidate assets such as Moonbug Entertainment, creator of the hit animated show Cocomeron, and Hello Sunshine, creator of Reese Witherspoon. .

It remains to be seen whether Zucker’s acumen as a television producer and corporate executive will translate into success in the private equity arena. In the private equity space, profits depend on finding great assets and making smart trading decisions. But the effort is backed by Goldman Sachs veteran Cardinale, who has decades of investment experience.

Mr. Zucker has already started scouting the deal. The venture is in talks to invest in digital media startups such as Puck and Semaphore, and has also met with the founders of Punchbowl News, a Capital Hill-focused media startup to launch in 2021. bottom.

Within months of Zucker’s launch of RedBird IMI, it began ramping up staff. One of his deputies at CNN, Rani Lard, former president of CNN Commerical Worldwide, joined the business.

Zucker also said he’s interested in forming a company with Redbird IMI to own digital publications aimed at specific audiences, like Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker. He spoke to his confidants.

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