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Atwater Capital links with Goldman Sachs, KKR to launch $100m-plus fund

Media- and entertainment-focused private equity firm Atwater Capital is launching a US$100m-plus fund after striking strategic alliances with KKR and Goldman Sachs’ affiliate Goldman Sachs Petershill.

Vania Schlogel

The Atwater Capital Fund will be focused on “identifying and investing in emerging sector trends and connecting high-profile [investors] with forward-looking management teams across North America, Europe and Asia,” according to the company.

Investment firms Goldman Sachs Petershill and KKR made anchor investments in the fund, taking the capital investments to more than US$100m.

LA-based Atwater Capital, founded by Vania Schlogel in 2017, is somewhat unique among private equity houses in that it is focused solely on the media and entertainment sectors.

While the new fund is not specifically designated for TV-related purposes, Atwater Capital’s previous investments mean there is a high probability it is looking at production companies and production groups in the television space.

Its investment portfolio includes independent studio Wiip, which is behind hit series including HBO’s Mare of Easstown and Amazon’s The Summer I Turned Pretty. Other portfolio investments include Germany’s Leonine Studios and France’s Mediawan.

A rep for Atwater Capital confirmed to C21 that the company will continue to explore opportunities across the media and entertainment space, including television.

“It is a hugely exciting time to be investing in media and entertainment, an asset class that is acyclical and buoyed by both digitisation and significant growth in global demand,” said Schlogel, who previously worked for KKR’s private equity team.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with Goldman Sachs Petershill, a recognised leader in sponsoring and supporting private equity firms globally, alongside the world-class team at KKR, as we launch our inaugural fund. We view the anchor commitments from these two blue-chip financial institutions as a strong confirmation of the long-term vision that we have for the Atwater platform.”

KKR partners Philipp Freise and Ted Oberwager added: “We are delighted to invest with Vania and her team as they identify and back a group of extraordinary media and entertainment entrepreneurs.

Christian von Schimmelmann, co-head of Goldman Sachs Petershill, said: “We look forward to providing strategic support as Atwater builds upon its history of investing in groundbreaking people and the companies they operate.”

Private equity firms have shown significant interest in the content sector over the past 18 months.

High-profile deals have included Kevin Hart’s prodco Hartbeat securing US$100m in investment from Boston-based Abry Partners; and Blackstone-backed Candle Media acquiring several companies including Moonbug Entertainment for around US$2.7bn.

Other private equity-backed deals include Apollo purchasing an undisclosed minority stake in US studio Legendary Entertainment for US$760m; and the launch of Peter Chernin’s The North Road Company, which acquired Red Arrow Studios’ US assets with backing from Providence Equity Partners.


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