Raine Group Teams With China Media Capital for Entertainment Investments

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UPDATED: The partners plan to make "select investments in the sports, entertainment and digital media sectors," both in China and around the world.

China Media Capital (CMC), a cash-flush media fund owned by the Chinese government, is partnering with influential boutique investment bank Raine Group.

They have agreed to form a strategic partnership to collaborate and invest "across the global media landscape." The partners said they plan to make "select investments in the sports, entertainment and digital media sectors," both in China and around the world.

Raine is backed or has relationships with the likes of WME Entertainment, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Marc Andreessen, a Facebook board member, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, and Masayoshi Son, founder of Japanese media group SoftBank and Japan's second richest individual.

”We believe the media sector in China is on the cusp of a significant growth trajectory as demand for international content in China continues to increase and Chinese media companies continue to expand globally, seeking strategic capital and partners,” said Raine co-founder and former global head of media at Goldman Sachs Joe Ravitch.

“We and Raine share the same vision -- to build Chinese media and entertainment companies into world-class institutions, to further develop the content creation industry in China, and leverage the technology, formats, innovations and experience of the global digital media, sports and entertainment sectors into China,” said Li Ruigang, chairman of CMC. “Raine brings us unparalleled access across the media sector through its portfolio companies, investors and strategic partners, such as WME Entertainment. We believe that by combining our resources and networks, we will bring a unique value proposition to our investments."

The deal is the latest example of China’s growing appetite for investment opportunities in homegrown and Western media and entertainment companies -- and forging alliances with experienced foreign partners.

Ruigang, who is responsible for his fund’s $805 million under management, told the Financial Times that his immediate focus is on domestic deals in China, but “by working with Raine, we will also look for global opportunities.”

Last year, CMC inked a deal with DreamWorks Animation to establish a new animation production studio in Shanghai, “OrientalDreamworks.” Li told The Hollywood Reporter in October that the studio would be ready to fully produce its first film by early 2013 and that it hoped to produce two to three movies a year within the next five years. The venture is also set to co-produce KungFu Panda 3, with a target release date in 2016. 

For their part, Raine’s most recent entertainment endeavor is a small stake the firm took in Important Studios, the production studio launched earlier this month by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.