Nike invests in LeBron James’ media business at a valuation of $ 725 million

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(Bloomberg) – The SpringHill Company, the consumer and entertainment company founded by NBA star LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter, sells minority stake to group of investors including Nike Inc., Epic Games Inc., Redbird Capital Partners and the owners of the Boston Red Sox.

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The deal values ​​the company, formed last year by combining three existing companies founded by James and Carter, at around $ 725 million, Los Angeles-based SpringHill said in a statement today. The duo will remain chairman and CEO respectively and will retain a majority stake.

SpringHill, named after the apartment complex James lived in as a teenager in his native Akron, Ohio, has produced television shows, podcasts, and films, including this “Space Jam: A New Legacy”. year, in which James starred. He also produced HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” a talk show starring James in a hair salon, and the recent Netflix documentary on tennis star Naomi Osaka. The stock sale will fuel SpringHill’s ambitions in areas such as fashion and games, Carter said in an interview.

“We got real traction and understand that emotion and a feeling of empowerment are needed,” he said. “Now we apply it to the product and the experience and we really extend it. “

The new group of investors builds on a number of long-standing relationships. James has supported Nike products since 2003, and Carter worked for the shoe and apparel giant before working full-time with his childhood friend. The pair partnered with Fenway Sports Group – owners of the Red Sox and Liverpool FC – in 2011 and eventually became minority owners of both clubs through the FSG. James also recently agreed to incorporate his likeness into Epic’s popular Fortnite game.

Investors will strengthen SpringHill’s credibility and access in their respective areas of expertise, Carter said. The association with Redbird, which has invested money in various media and sports companies, allows SpringHill to close potential deals in this portfolio.

Main Street Advisors, led by Paul Wachter, represented SpringHill in the transaction. Wachter, who also sits on the SpringHill board of directors, is a longtime advisor to James and Carter and was one of the main architects of the 2020 deal that raised $ 100 million to start the company.

SpringHill’s valuation has more than doubled since then, and the company is set to eclipse $ 100 million in revenue over the next 12 months, Carter said. The cash injection will allow SpringHill to develop more of its ideas in-house and then sell them, rather than seeking up-front funding.

Carter said national and global events since the initial agreement have increasingly encouraged different types of people to tell their stories. Distributors are willing to buy the shows because consumers want them, he said. Companies like Procter & Gamble Co. also hire SpringHill for shorts like “These Hands,” which features black professionals outside of sports.

“The thing that I know, which is emotional storytelling, and doing it with the thread of empowerment, is vital,” Carter said. “Creators want the power to create. It’s a much bigger proposition right now.

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