RedZone Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has purchased TV production company Dick Clark Productions Inc. (DCP) for 175 million. Amusement park operator Six Flags Inc. (Snyder is Chairman) took a 40% equity stake in the deal. Snyder becomes chairman of DCP. DCP CEO Allen Shapiro stepped down and will be replaced by Terry Bateman, the former chief marketing officer of the Redskins. DCP last changed hands in 2002 when a group of investors including the Canadian pension fund Capital Communications CDPQ and Mosaic Media Group acquired the company for 140 million.
Earlier this year, RedZone Capital Fund II purchased the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain. RedZone also is owner of Red Zebra Broadcasting, home of ESPN broadcasts for greater DC, Richmond, and Norfolk, VA.
DCP's portfolio includes the Golden Globes, Academy of Country Music Awards, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and American Bandstand broadcasts, The American Music Awards, So You Think You Can Dance (co-produced with 19 Entertainment) and "Bloopers." The buy includes an extensive library of live televised music–10,000 hours of contemporary live music performances, including American Bandstand's nearly 900 one-hour broadcasts, and a variety of entertainment and comedy specials or series, children's programming, talk shows, made-for-TV movies, and more.
Snyder's spokesman Karl Swanson tells RBR with this piece of the pie, "people should be able to start connecting the dots." He says the Dick Clark brand and programs are appointment viewing across the board, for the whole country. "You can take assets like that in any direction and we intend to increase the quality by going to hi-def and making some tweaks in some of the programming. But most importantly just make the programs America loves more accessible in more ways." [read: digital]
Swanson also mentioned the music library asset, very interesting: "The thirst for content grows in every technology and every venue. And of course, Dick Clark, they have the programs, but they also have the libraries-every American Bandstand ever presented, plus 10,000 hours of live performances from all of the other programs they've ever developed. They're sitting on reels of tape in a warehouse waiting for us to digitize them and take them in other directions."
To that end, RedZone and DCP have hired Creative Artists Agency to explore new business opportunities involving television, licensing, live events, sponsorships and digital media.
Snyder will be joined on the new eight-person DCP Board by
– Dwight Schar, Chairman of NVR, Inc., the country's sixth-largest home builder. He is also a Managing Member of RedZone, a minority owner of the Washington Redskins, and a member of the Six Flags Board.
– Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of Six Flags. Prior to joining Six Flags in 2005, Shapiro was EVP/programming and production, at ESPN, where his responsibilities included development, acquisition, and programming for the network, including oversight of ESPN Original Entertainment, the ESPY Awards and ABC Sports.
– Bateman, the new CEO of DCP.
– Dennis Greene, SVP of the Redskins, where he is responsible for development and marketing of the team's premium products and relationships.
SmartMedia observation: DCP could serve a whole host of functions for Red Zone investments-from monetizing the music library to spot production for Six Flags parks and NVR to feature programs for the 'Skins. But hiring CAA means they want to take DCP to bigger and better things. Remember, last year Red Zone invested in a film production company set up by Tom Cruise. DCP just beefs up the resources and talent. Snyder is a very savvy businessman who's growing a sports, amusement and entertainment empire.