x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mubadala to buy stake in Raine

Mubadala Development has agreed to buy a 9 per cent stake in The Raine Group, an investment bank specialising in media, entertainment and sport.

Ben Affleck is one of the more than 1,000 clients represented by WME Entertainment.
Ben Affleck is one of the more than 1,000 clients represented by WME Entertainment.

Mubadala Development, the strategic investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, has agreed to buy a 9 per cent stake in The Raine Group, an investment bank specialising in media, entertainment and sport. Raine was founded last year by Joseph Ravitch, a former managing director for media at Goldman Sachs, and Jeffrey Sine, a former vice chairman of investment banking and global head of technology, media and telecommunications at UBS. Raine is based in New York and also has offices in Los Angeles and Beijing.

"We are proud to be partnering with Raine," said Waleed al Muhairi, the chief operating officer of Mubadala. "Their ambition, expertise and vision are precisely the traits we seek in our partners and ones that are suited to capitalise on the opportunities the global digital media, entertainment and sports sectors present." Although Raine is a little-known entity in the media investment market, the pedigree of its founders has already attracted a number of high-profile investors. In addition to Mubadala, Raine has drawn pledges of investment from Ted Forstmann, the private equity pioneer, and William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment, one of the world's largest talent and literary agencies.

WME Entertainment was formed last year by the merger of the nearly century-old William Morris Agency and Endeavor Talent Agency, founded by Ari Emanuel, a brother of Rahm Emanuel, the US White House chief of staff. Ari Emanuel was the inspiration for the fast-talking talent agent Ari Gold on the television series Entourage. The deal involving Mubadala and Raine was announced yesterday, on the final day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, but it was hinted at the previous evening, when Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chief executive of Mubadala, and Mr Emanuel shared the stage during a panel discussion on Middle East growth.

Mr al Mubarak pointed to the deal with Raine, which, by extension, makes Mubadala an investing partner with WME Entertainment, as an example of Mubadala's approach to investing in media. "We're still learning the ropes when it comes to the media business, so finding the right partners that will co-invest with us and help us identify the right technologies for the future, I think this is the way to go for us," he said.

Illustrating his outlook, he said: "Ari has tremendous experience in this side of the business. Rather than us going in and just learn, we've partnered with Ari, we've invested with Ari, and I think that gives us the right deal flow, that gives us the right advice, in partnering with Ari and Raine." Mr Emanuel worked at several Hollywood talent agencies before founding Endeavor Talent Agency. After its merger with William Morris, he became the chief executive of WME Entertainment, which represents more than 1,000 clients including the entertainers Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Mubadala's investment in Raine, coming as hundreds of leaders of the world's largest media and technology companies were gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss opportunities in emerging markets, underscored the emirate's ambition to be a key player in global media. Mr Ravitch hinted at the potential his company saw in the region. khagey@thenational.ae