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Chernin Group invests US$263m in Funko, Bob Iger among backers

The Chernin Group (TCG), the LA-based investment firm led by Peter Chernin, is set to acquire a 25% stake in pop culture collectibles maker Funko for US$263m.

Peter Chernin

TCG is leading an investor consortium that also includes former Disney CEO Bob Iger, eBay and Rich Paul, who is head of sports at United Talent Agency and CEO and founder of Klutch Sports Group.

Funko, headquartered in Washington, designs, sources and distributes licensed pop culture products across multiple categories, including vinyl figures, action toys, board games, plush, apparel, housewares and accessories.

Under terms of the deal, TCG and its investor consortium will acquire from Acon Investments 12.5 million shares of Funko Class A common stock (the equivalent of 80% of Acon Investments’ stake in Funko) at US$21 per share.

TCG said it believes the quarter-billion-dollar investment will “help reinforce Funko’s leadership position in the pop culture collectibles space and advance the company’s strategic growth initiatives.”

With the investment, TCG can designate two directors to the Funko board at a later date. TCG added that Iger and Chernin will “provide guidance and strategic insight as advisors to the Funko board.”

TCG, which is rumoured to be among a group of companies looking to acquire Red Arrow Studios, was formed in 2010 by US businessman and investor Chernin, who is former president and chief operating officer of News Corp and former chairman and CEO of the Fox Group from 1996 to 2009.

On the entertainment side, its investment portfolio includes Sony-owned anime streamer Crunchyroll and the Exploding Kittens card game brand.

The company’s content division, Chernin Entertainment, has produced projects including Apple’s See as well as the Fox sitcom New Girl and features such as Hidden Figures, Greatest Showman and Ford v Ferrari.

More recently, Chernin Entertainment has been adding to its executive ranks in LA with the hire of NBCUniversal veteran Bill McGoldrick and former senior VP of originals at Starz, Juan Alfonso.

Iger led Disney as its president from 2005 to 2020. In February 2020, he named Bob Chapek as his successor and shifted into the role of executive chairman before departing the company entirely at the end of 2021.


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