Kevin Mayer in Talks to Join RedBird Capital

LOS ANGELES — Kevin A. Mayer, who resigned as TikTok’s chief govt in August after three months on the job and who beforehand was a candidate to run the Walt Disney Firm, is closing in on a brand new gig.Mr. Mayer, 58, is in superior talks to hitch RedBird Capital, a non-public funding agency with holdings in sports activities, leisure and monetary companies, in response to two folks briefed on the matter who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of an settlement was not finalized. RedBird was based in 2014 by Gerry Cardinale, a former Goldman Sachs govt who is understood for constructing companies — together with his 2001 creation of the YES regional sports activities community, which broadcasts New York Yankees video games, with the Steinbrenner household as a first-rate instance. RedBird manages about $four billion in capital.The precise function that Mr. Mayer has been discussing with RedBird was unclear. RedBird declined to remark, as did Mr. Mayer.Earlier than his interlude at TikTok, the short-form viral video app, Mr. Mayer served as Disney’s high streaming govt, overseeing the profitable rollout of Disney+ final 12 months. However he spent most of his 20-plus years at Disney as a offers maven. Mr. Mayer engineered the corporate’s blockbuster purchases of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. He additionally applied Disney’s $71.three billion buy of 21st Century Fox property, which introduced Hulu and Hotstar, an abroad streaming service, beneath Disney management.Mr. Mayer’s résumé means that RedBird’s aspirations within the media area are extra vital than beforehand realized. Mr. Cardinale’s agency (named for the songbird recommended by his final title) has largely flown beneath the radar; early investments included Aethon United, a Texas pure fuel producer, and TierPoint, a Missouri knowledge middle operator.In February, nevertheless, RedBird unveiled an funding in Skydance Media, a fast-growing movie, tv and gaming studio based by David Ellison, whose father is the Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. (Oracle is now in the course of a possible TikTok transaction supposed to deal with the Trump administration’s considerations concerning the app’s ties to China.)Mr. Cardinale’s agency additionally owns a part of the YES community — a stake that hyperlinks RedBird to Amazon’s streaming division. Final 12 months, an funding group that included Amazon, Sinclair Broadcast Group, RedBird and Yankee World Enterprises purchased YES from Disney for an estimated $three.5 billion.RedBird has additionally been more and more lively in sports activities.Final month, RedBird purchased the rowdy XFL soccer league in partnership with the actor Dwayne Johnson and his enterprise companion, Dany Garcia. In July, RedBird bought the Toulouse Soccer Membership, a French soccer staff. Additionally in July, RedBird joined with Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics govt, to begin a particular function acquisition firm, or SPAC, devoted to sports activities.Also called “clean examine” corporations, SPACs increase cash with out having an in depth marketing strategy. They’ve develop into scorching funding autos as buyers search for alternatives created by the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic. RedBird’s sports activities SPAC raised $575 million, positioning it to pursue acquisitions (English soccer is seen as a possible searching floor) value $5 billion or extra when teaming with different buyers.Mr. Mayer was a logical option to succeed Robert A. Iger as Disney’s chief govt. However the firm’s board of administrators handed him over in February, as an alternative selling Bob Chapek, the lower-profile chairman of Disney’s theme parks and shopper merchandise companies. Desperate to run his personal present, Mr. Mayer jumped on the likelihood to function chief govt of TikTok, which exploded in reputation through the pandemic. He was additionally named chief working officer of ByteDance, the Chinese language conglomerate that owns the app.TikTok confronted deep mistrust throughout the U.S. authorities due to its Chinese language possession. Mr. Mayer’s presence was supposed to assist assuage these considerations. However TikTok unexpectedly grew to become a geopolitical piñata amid worsening U.S.-China tensions. President Trump signed an govt order to dam TikTok if ByteDance didn’t promote the app’s U.S. operations.TikTok was shocked by the order, partially as a result of it had been working behind the scenes to fulfill the White Home by holding talks with buyers and others to scale back its Chinese language possession.Mr. Mayer resigned on Aug. 26. “I perceive that the function that I signed up for — together with operating TikTok globally — will look very completely different because of the U.S. administration’s motion to push for a unload of the U.S. enterprise,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

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