Newhouses have $450M for tech investing
- Last Updated: 3:35 PM, June 10, 2012
- Posted: 10:49 PM, June 9, 2012
ON THE MONEY
The billionaire Newhouse family, headed by patriarchs S.I. Newhouse Jr. and brother Donald, continue to draw out money from their $500 million war chest to place bets on emerging technology companies.
Last week, they revealed that they had invested $10 million in Unified, a software and marketing company out of San Francisco. Unified revealed that it had also secured a $4 million line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank.
It is believed that the Newhouse family, through its Advance Publications corporation (which also owns the Condé Nast glossy empire as well as having newspaper and cable holdings), has now invested about $50 million — with $450 million still to be spent.
“There are multiple deals in the pipeline,” said Andrew Siegel, a former Yahoo! executive and now a senior vice president at Advance who is overseeing the fund.
“We’re looking to participate in companies that are employing technology that changes the way people consume media or change the way marketers reach consumers,” said Siegel.
Last month, Advance acquired Fashion Networks International, best known for its fashion blog NowManifest. Co-founder Christian Remrod joined the Fairchild division of Condé Nast as a managing director.
That acquisition was a rarity in that the company was gobbled up outright. That was the old Condé Nast and Advance way of doing business, but the fund is operating differently, often taking minority stakes or investing along with other venture capital firms.
Unified sells enterprise-software applications and then takes a percentage of the ad revenue of clients that use the platform across social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, YouTube and others.
“I believe marketers want to reach consumers in a different way,” said Siegel. And he said it often does not matter to the consumer if the message is a commercial message or a comment from a friend.
Advance revealed it participated in a second round of funding for Moda Operandi, a flash sale online shopping site that just raised an additional $36 million from a number of investors including: venture capital firm RRE Ventures, and several strategic investors, such as IMG and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Advance is also spending some of the war chest on Trigger Media, headed by Andy Russell, a former partner of Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group. And Advance is similarly involved in Raine Partners, founded by former investment bankers Jeff Sine, onetime vice chairman of UBS, and Joe Ravitch, an ex-managing director of Goldman Sachs. --Keith J. Kelly
Chris Rock has a busy summer ahead. In addition to starring in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and lending his voice to the animated movie “Madagascar 3,” both of which are in theaters now, he’s also filming “Grown Ups 2,” producing the upcoming talk show “Totally Biased” and working on a documentary about debt called “Credit Is the Devil.”
When we asked him at Thursday night’s “Madagascar 3” premiere how he decides which projects he acts in, produces or makes into a documentary, Rock said, “You just want to do stuff where you’re not bored: that’s my main criteria. Just try to keep it moving; do different things.”
At the star-studded screening, also attended by co-stars Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jessica Chastain, Rock said that he and his team are “still doing research” for “Credit Is the Devil,” but will “shoot some stuff pretty soon.”
Rock has said that the upcoming documentary will focus on debt and consumers’ love of credit, both of which he’s called “the root of all evil.” --Hilary Lewis
Isn’t it kind of difficult to be in a Hall of Fame if there’s no actual building?
Well, New York native and the Hall’s business development manager, Bobby Fisher is addressing that issue for hip-hop legends looking for a home. The long-awaited Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum has found a home in Midtown — exact location will be revealed in July — and promises to be more than just a plaque-filled venue. A restaurant, arcade, concert lounge, television studio, and community and corporate rooms are all in the blueprints.
Funds for the development will largely come from private investors, and a Worldwide VIP Fan Membership Campaign is being launched. Membership deals for $35 will be rolled out, with a goal of 1 million hip-hop fans targeted for sign-up.
Also in July, a large class of inductees will join Run-D.M.C., The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur in the Hall of Fame. Rumored newcomers include Slick Rick, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and Eve.
Fisher plans to welcome roughly 650,000 visitors a year when the structure is completed in 2014.--Joseph Barracato