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SpringHill, the entertainment venture formed by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, has taken investment from a consortium valuing the business at $725 million. Gerry Cardinale’s sports-focused RedBird Capital leads the group, and is joined by Nike, Epic Games and Fenway Sports Group. The syndicate acquired a “significant” minority stake, according to an announcement from Spring Hill this morning.
Last month, Sportico reported SpringHill was discussing an investment from RedBird.
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“What I really like is that we are backing two people, who, individually and collectively, are pretty unique in the crossroads of sports and culture and their ability to be catalysts for advancement, empowerment and diversity,” RedBird founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale said in a phone call. “If you look at what’s been going on in society, and you look at the potential of sports to impact that in a positive way, I’d be hard-pressed to find a company and two individuals who are in a position to really advance that. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
SpringHill Company is the combination of three businesses launched by James and long-time business partner Carter: SpringHill Entertainment, Uninterrupted and the Robot Co. Most notably, SpringHill is a producer of the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy, which also stars James, and The Shop, an Emmy-winning talk show on HBO.
Much of the appeal of the business to investors is its diversified revenue streams, which include not only film and TV production, but podcasts and editorial, as well as marketing consulting through Robot and consumer products, like hoodies and ballcaps designed in-house. SpringHill has multi-year deals for scripted and unscripted content with Netflix, HBO, Apple, Universal, Disney as well as Disney’s ESPN.
Last year, James and Carter raised $100 million to fund SpringHill from a consortium including Guggenheim Investments, SC.Holdings and UC Investments, which manages the endowment and retirement assets of the University of California system. UC Investments added an undisclosed amount to its stake in this latest round. The dollar size of the new equity investment and the percentage stake sold by SpringHill aren’t publicly disclosed. Still, after this new round, James and Carter will continue to control the company, with RedBird Capital the lead stakeholder among the various asset management firms.
The investment calls upon a number of ties James already has in the sports and entertainment world. He has a “lifetime” contract with Nike, and he also owns a portion of Fenway Sports Group, the parent of the Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. (as does RedBird). In July, he made his debut on Epic’s Fortnite game as a playable character. James’ many deals, as well as his playing career, have earned him the title of NBA’s first billion-dollar active player.
“With this new group of investors who are the very best in their respective industries we are going to be able to empower our community and every creator to do their most inspiring work and achieve their most ambitious dream,” said Carter, SpringHill’s CEO, in a press release.
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