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Ryan Seacrest scores $300 million to invest in media companies

Thursday, 2 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

American radio host Ryan Seacrest has raised his profile as a celebrity-turned-entrepreneur, after his investment company received $300 million to invest in other media companies and projects.

 

Seacrest’s investment holding company, Ryan Seacrest Media, received the funds from Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital; majority investors in global media company Clear Channel.

 

A joint statement said both investors will work with RSM to “identify, acquire and develop innovative media companies, media content and other media properties”, which can be leveraged to support “a range of media enterprises”.

 

Under a separate agreement, Clear Channel will acquire a minority stake in Ryan Seacrest Productions, a privately-held entertainment production company.

 

RSP produces reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and its various spin-offs. It also produced the Emmy Award-winning ABC reality series “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”.

 

Despite Clear Channel’s ownership of the minority stake, the statement said RSB will remain “creatively autonomous and continue as an independently-operated entity, majority-owned by Ryan Seacrest”.

 

Seacrest said the goal is to build Ryan Seacrest Media into a leading multimedia company with diversified assets and interests, saying the entertainment industry is “thriving with innovation”.

 

“I’m excited to collaborate with Clear Channel, THL and Bain Capital to seize on investment opportunities that capitalise on unique content, new technologies and distribution platforms,” he said.

 

It’s unknown whether Seacrest will make investments outside of the US, although he does have a fairly strong following in Australia. Seacrest can be heard on Australian Radio Network stations.

 

However, it’s been suggested Seacrest’s $300 million private equity score may act more like a funding round for debt-laden Clear Channel than an investment in new media ventures.

 

According to Forbes, both backers are funding the deal to bring in lucrative Seacrest productions – namely “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” – which can “act as a savior” for the investors.

 

Clear Channel and its private equity owners may be hoping Seacrest can instruct high-returning media investments and help the company fix its finances.

 

But Clear Channel chief executive Robert Pittman said his company’s planned investment was motivated by Seacrest’s “ambition and talent.”

 

Pitman described Seacrest as an “unmatched creative talent”, with success across more media platforms than anyone else in the industry.

 

“His combination of business acumen and keen understanding of consumers and popular entertainment is an incredible asset,” Pitman said.

 

“We’re eager to collaborate with him in developing new and significant opportunities in the television arena in a way that can maximise our relationships with music and other talent.”