Longtime Disney executive and former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer is in late-stage talks to join investment firm RedBird Capital, according to multiple reports.
RedBird, which says it manages $4 billion in assets, has had a hand in many projects throughout the sports, entertainment and financial industries. In sports alone, the company has stakes in the YES Network — which founder Gerry Cardinale helped create — and just recently, jointly acquired the XFL along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia. RedBird also purchased Toulouse Football Club, a French soccer team, in July.
It also teamed with Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane to form a sports-dedicated special purpose acquisition company. SPACs, commonly referred to as “blank check” companies, raise money with the intent of acquiring or merging with other companies.
In February, RedBird invested $275 million in Skydance Media, a production company founded by David Ellison.
While at Disney, Mayer helped orchestrate the debut of OTT platform Disney+ in 2019. Prior to that he was behind the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, as well as Fox assets including Hulu.
He joined TikTok after Disney chose Bob Chapek to succeed Bob Iger as the company’s CEO in February.
He oversaw the Chinese-owned app TikTok’s surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was also named COO of parent company ByteDance, but resigned on Aug. 26 amid the U.S. government’s push for ByteDance to sell its U.S. business.
Cardinale founded RedBird in 2013 after a 20-year stint at Goldman Sachs. Bringing Mayer on could signal an impending push further into the media category.