Shamrock Capital Advisors has invested in Learfield Communications. Financial terms weren’t announced. Clyde Lear, Learfield’s founder, will continue as a minority shareholder. Learfield manages the athletic multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations through its Learfield Sports operating unit.
Learfield Communications, Inc. announced the closing of a strategic investment by Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III today, a key component in the company’s growth plans. Learfield senior management, led by President and CEO Greg Brown, will continue managing daily business operations, and Founder Clyde Lear will continue to serve as a minority shareholder.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Learfield Communications as the company enters this exciting period of growth,” said Shamrock Partner Will Wynperle. “The company has a nearly forty year history in the college sports industry and is a trusted partner to some of the most storied and beloved programs in the country. We at Shamrock look forward to working with the Learfield management team to further grow their business and build upon their great brand.”
Learfield, founded in 1972, manages the athletic multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations through its Learfield Sports operating unit. The company represents some of the biggest names in college sports, with long-term relationships within the major collegiate conferences. It also titles the acclaimed Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, co-founded by NACDA and USA Today and awarded annually to the top collegiate athletic departments. Learfield also owns Learfield News, its operating unit that provides quality state news and agriculture programming to hundreds of radio stations throughout America’s Heartland, serving the needs of the listeners and advertisers throughout the Midwest.
“I am thrilled to be working with the outstanding team of professionals at Shamrock,” said Brown. “We have grown and evolved through the years, and we are honored to partner with Shamrock as we take our business to the next level. We have developed trust and close relationships with our partners in collegiate athletics and the business community, and we are thrilled to now enter a new era of growth with an organization with the same values that we rely on.”
“This is an exciting new growth phase for the company I started many years ago,” added Lear. “I’m excited about its future and appreciate the hard work and dedication of our people, who have helped make Learfield a stellar brand in the media business and college athletics.”
Learfield retained Lazard Middle Market and Bevilacqua Media Company as its representatives and advisors and Proskauer Rose as its law firm in the transaction.
Learfield Communications, originally named Missouri Network, Inc., was an outgrowth of a graduate thesis by Clyde Lear, who later teamed with Derry Brownfield to create a regional farm radio network that eventually grew into a diverse media enterprise with more than 350 employees. In 1975, the company began distributing the University of Missouri radio broadcasts, marking the company’s initial foray into collegiate sports. Like Mizzou, a partner still today, the company’s collegiate sports rights relationships are broad in scope and include management of a wide variety of sponsorship, media and marketing assets. Company produced television programming is seen on more than 160 local stations, cable systems and Regional Sports Networks, and it also provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide. Learfield News operates Brownfield, the leading agriculture radio network and information service and five state news networks. For additional detail about its history and complete collegiate portfolio, visit www.learfield.com.
Shamrock Capital Advisors is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm with over $700 million of capital under management. Investing exclusively in the media, entertainment, and communications sectors, Shamrock partners with strong management teams and takes an active, collaborative approach to creating value in each investment. Originally founded in 1978 as the Roy E. Disney family investment company, Shamrock is currently investing out of Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III, a $400 million fund raised in 2011. Shamrock’s representative investments include Thought Equity Motion, Mojiva, Screenvision, REALD, MediaStorm, PRN, The Harlem Globetrotters, and Modern Luxury. www.shamrockcap.com