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Chernin Group forms partnership with Providence Equity

April 22, 2012 | 10:29 pm

Peter Chernin
Providence Equity Partners is making an investment in the Chernin Group, the closely held movie and television production company founded by former News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, who himself will become a senior advisor to the private equity firm.

As part of the agreement, Providence Equity will acquire a large minority stake in the Chernin Group and receive multiple seats on its board of directors. The Chernin Group will use the cash infusion to look for media investments in the United States and abroad. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but people  familiar with the terms put the investment in $200-million range.

"Our goal is to build a global, diversified media company that leverages the key areas of value and growth in the world today -- the importance of premium content; exploiting opportunities in emerging markets, specifically Asia; and technology’s disruptive impact on the media industry,” Chernin said in a statement. The Chernin Group already has a majority stake in CA Media, an Asia-based media investment company.

Chernin has long ties to Providence Equity Partners, which is a large investor in the entertainment industry. Chernin worked closely with Providence Equity on the creation of the online video site Hulu, which is co-owned by the firm along with News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Walt Disney Co.

“We have worked closely with Peter for many years and have tremendous respect for his extraordinary creative savvy and world-class business acumen,” Providence Equity Chief Executive Jonathan Nelson said. "It is clear that together we have a team with tremendous depth of talent and expertise to build a media and entertainment company of scale."

The partnership with Providence Equity may put to rest the speculation about Chernin's future. Since he left News Corp. in 2009, his name has been mentioned every time a major media position opens up. The deal with Providence Equity seems to indicate a desire on Chernin's part to build his own media empire rather than run someone else's.

The Chernin Group has already made its presence felt in Hollywood. It produces the situation comedy "New Girl" for Fox, which has been renewed for next season. It also made the hit movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Beside Hulu, Providence Equity also has stakes in Univision, Warner Music Group and Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, parent of the powerful regional sports channel YES.

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Peter Chernin unveils movies and TV shows but continues to stalk Silicon Valley

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Peter Chernin. Credit: Scott Eells / Bloomberg

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