Nov 1, 2022 - Sports

Ex-CNN boss Jeff Zucker in advanced talks to join private equity firm

Jeff Zucker

Jeff Zucker in 2019. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia.

Jeff Zucker, whose nine-year run atop CNN ended this past February, is in advanced talks to join private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners.

Why it matters: Zucker would give added media industry depth to RedBird, as it increases its focus on professional sports investing.

  • In addition to CNN, Zucker was in charge of WarnerMedia's Turner Sports division. He also once led NBC's Olympic Games coverage.

The big picture: RedBird recently bought Italian soccer club AC Milan, is the lead investor in the XFL's revival and also owns a piece of the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool F.C.

  • RedBird's founder, Gerry Cardinale, helped put together the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) while still a banker at Goldman Sachs.

Background: Talks between Zucker and RedBird were first reported by The Ankler. Axios has since confirmed with a source close to the situation.

  • The Ankler also said that Zucker would lead a $1 billion sports investment fund, although it's unclear how that fund would differ from the sorts of investments RedBird makes out of its flagship funds (it's currently raising its fourth, after raising $2.6 billion for Fund III last year).
  • RedBird declined to comment.
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