Thomas H. Lee, Bain to Invest Up to $300 Mln in Ryan Seacrest Media–UPDATED

Ryan Seacrest has gone private equity.

Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital have committed to invest up to $300 million in Ryan Seacrest Media, the investment company from the “American Idol” host. RSM will use the funds to “identify, acquire and develop innovative” media company, media content and other properties.

Clear Channel, which is also owned by THL and Bain, has also bought a minority stake in Ryan Seacrest Productions, according to the statement . RSP is the entertainment company known for producing such shows like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” “Khloe and Lamar,” and “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.”

Seacrest, who is executive chairman of RSP, will retain a majority stake in the company, the statement said. RSP will collaborate with Clear Channel to produce and distribute scripted and unscripted TV programming.

The deals attest to the backstage ambitions for Seacrest, who is apparently building a diversified media company, according to the New York Times.

One thing we do know? Seacrest is busy. He is a radio host, is relaunching Mark Cuban’s HDNET as AXS TV, and has even been rumored to be the possible successor to Matt Lauer on the “Today” show. Oh and his contract with “American Idol” will expire this spring but will likely be renewed, the NY Times said.

UPDATE: The Seacrest investment was derided by some. But Mike LaSalle, a Shamrock Capital Advisors partner, says he can see why THL and Bain decided to bet on Seacrest.

“He has proven to be smart in leveraging his celebrity into real business success and opportunity,” says LaSalle. “Consumers of entertainment don’t really see that side of him, but the media/entertainment industries appreciate that not every person can do that. I will venture to guess that the amount of money made in producing the Kardashian shows dwarfs his American Idol success.”