Ryan Seacrest Gets $300 Million From THL Partners, Bain Capital

Ryan Seacrest
Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., right, speaks with host Ryan Seacrest at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 9, 2012. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Ryan Seacrest, the radio and TV producer and host of “American Idol,” garnered a commitment for as much as $300 million from Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC to fund media ventures.

The private-equity investors will provide capital to Ryan Seacrest Media to buy and develop companies, content and other properties, according to a statement today. Clear Channel Communications, the radio broadcaster controlled by the investors, will also participate.

The accord deepens the ties between the private-equity groups and Seacrest, who hosts nationally syndicated radio shows carried by San Antonio-based Clear Channel, the largest U.S. radio broadcaster. Ryan Seacrest Productions makes “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the highest-rated show on the E! cable TV network, as well as spinoff programs.

The production company will remain independent and majority-owned by Seacrest, according to today’s statement. Clear Channel Chief Executive Officer Bob Pittman, THL Managing Director Richard Bressler and Bain Capital Managing Director Ian Loring will work with Seacrest and his management.

Ryan Seacrest Media formed a joint venture this month with billionaire Mark Cuban’s HDNet, AEG and Creative Artists Agency to create a new cable channel, AXS TV, later this year. His company is also producing two reality series, “Melissa and Tye: A New Reality,” for CMT and Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset.”

In addition to “Idol,” Seacrest is host and producer of “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” syndicated to 150 stations in North America. He also hosts the “American Top 40” music countdown show on radio.

Bain and Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired control of Clear Channel in July 2008.

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