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Raine Group’s Fund I Raises $475 Mln

The Raine Group, the merchant bank founded by two former investment bankers, said Tuesday that it has raised $475 million for its first fund.

Raine invests exclusively in entertainment, digital media and sports. By September 2010, Raine had raised $303.4 million for the pool, according to SEC filings. However, Fund I came in short of Raine’s reported $500 million target.

“For a first-time fund to raise $475 million in this environment is great,” one placement agent says. “They may have been too aggressive in setting the target.”

“That’s phenomenal for a first time fund,” another PA says. “That’s a big win in this market.”

Joseph Ravitch and Jeffrey Sine founded Raine in 2009. Ravitch is a former Goldman Sachs partner, while Sine was a senior banker at UBS. Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, is reportedly an investor of Raine.

Fund I has completed three investments in companies: Vice, the media company; Jagex, the online game developer; and, OpenSky, the online social shopping service.

Raine has some high-profile investors. In April, the Financial Times reported that Raine had received investments from Eric Schmidt, Google ex-CEO, along with Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, and Peter Chernin, News Corp.’s ex-COO.

Raine has also made some big hires. In February, the merchant bank hired Russ Pillar, the former president of the Los Angeles marathon. He is currently a senior advisor focused on sports-related investments.

Today Raine said it has also hired as a partner Glenn Schiffman, the former head of investment banking in the Americas for Nomura Holdings. He was previously head of investment banking Asia-Pacific at Lehman Brothers. “Our team, which now numbers 35 globally, is stronger than ever and Glenn is a wonderful addition,” Ravitch said in a statement Tuesday.

Sherri Williams also joined Raine as a managing director for private placements and capital markets. She was previously with Montgomery & Co., where she helped build the firm’s private placement business, according to the statement.

Calls to Raine weren’t returned.