News Briefs: Investment firm buys football league; Family offices prosper; Tech community enters administration

Investment firm joins with Hollywood star to re-launch failed football league

RedBird Capital Partners, an investment firm that builds companies in partnership with entrepreneurs and family offices, has teamed up with sports stars to put a bet on the American football league.

Their first successful venture is with film star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his ex-wife, Dany Garcia, who oversees businesses in the food and entertainment sector. Together, they have agreed to pay $15 million for the assets of Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL, an American football league that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

This will be Johnson and Garcia’s second co-investment to date. They are already co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies, a production firm that developed the Baywatch remake, Jumanji: The Next Level, and an upcoming film called Jungle Cruise.

Johnson, whose films have grossed $10 billion worldwide has a background in sports. After playing American football competitively at university, he wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation, now known as the WWE from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

Founded in 1999, XFL was relaunched this year by WWE CEO Vince McMahon who supported a $153 million cash-raising round earlier this year. However, it floundered five weeks into the season due to Covid-19 and McMahon had to put the league up for sale in April.

The intention among its new investors is to relaunch the league in some form, although details have not yet been released.

A report says family offices have surpassed the challenges of Covid-19

The FINTRX Q2 2020 Family Office Data Report revealed that more than 70 new family offices were created in the second quarter of this year during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

In terms of investment, family offices were continuing to fund new and innovative sectors, despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Rising investments in technology followed by healthcare and biotech were the most popular choices while real estate continued to be seen as a dependable form of investment due to its often steady returns and tax benefits.

A fifth of family investment groups included in the report were involved in private equity investments, followed by hedge fund involvement at 17%.

The top sources of wealth among family offices this quarter are entrepreneurial rather than generational. The report’s findings seem to follow the current trend of elite wealth creation, which is based on a growing number of self-made billionaires –  a community that has increased by 40% since 2013.

Despite the economic volatility caused by Covid-19, the report’s main conclusion is that family offices are well placed to benefit from the “numerous opportunities” that will arise in the current environment. Where the “spike in wealth” generally attributed to tech innovation in business has not only led to the creation of more billionaires but also the creation of more family offices to cater to this growing UHNW community.

A tech community whose residents were acquired by Microsoft and Google enters administration

TechHub, a global community for tech startups, has seen its London HQ enter administration as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The office space provider lost 75% of its revenue as its resident businesses increasingly pursued remote working.

Founded by ex-Silicon Valley Bank adviser, Elizabeth Varley and TechCrunch Europe’s editor-at-large Mike Butcher, TechHub boasted Google as a founding sponsor when it started life in the heart of London’s Silicon Roundabout in 2010.

Described as a company that “supports startups across all stages of their development,” TechHub played host to 5,000 early-stage tech businesses over the course of ten years and expanded internationally into countries such as Spain and Poland.

TechHub’s residents had raised some $1 billion of funding between them before the company’s landlord rejected its rescue plan this summer. TechHub locations in other tech-driven cities around the world such as Riga, Bucharest and Swansea remain open.

TechHub’s administrator, Paul Stanley said: “The funders, advisors, directors and employees were happy with the rescue plan, and I’m very surprised that the landlord as a major creditor wasn’t even prepared to engage with the company about it.”

Notable startups to emerge from London’s TechHub include AI music business, Jukedeck which was later acquired by TikTok in 2019 and Yammer, a social networking company for businesses acquired by Microsoft back in 2012 for $1.2 billion. Another TechHub resident, mobile experience app, Divide was acquired by Google in 2014.

Equity crowdfunding platform, Seedrs was also one of TechHub’s early resident businesses.


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