11.20.2014

RLJ Equity Partners, LLC Acquires MarketCast

MarketCast is a preeminent provider of strategic insights and analysis to marketers and researchers in the global entertainment industry

BETHESDA, Maryland, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — RLJ Equity Partners, LLC, an affiliate of The RLJ Companies, today announced its acquisition of MarketCast, LLC, a premier provider of strategic insights and analysis to marketers and researchers in the global entertainment industry. RLJ Equity Partners, in alliance with GE Asset Management, acquired MarketCast from Shamrock Capital Advisors, a leading media, communications, and entertainment private equity firm based in Los Angeles.

MarketCast works in collaboration with clients across the entertainment spectrum to test and optimize their content, marketing, and distribution strategies. The company maintains long-standing client relationships with all of the major motion picture studios and production companies, as well as a growing number of broadcast, cable, and OTT programmers and networks. Core services, applied worldwide, include testing of marketing materials and messaging as well as strategic research and advisory services related to market positioning, branding, franchise extensions, and sequel development.

“MarketCast is globally recognized as a premier entertainment research firm and today’s acquisition by RLJ Equity Partners is an opportunity to invest alongside an experienced team in the growing U.S. entertainment industry,” said Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Chairman of RLJ Equity Partners. “With its comprehensive audience engagement expertise and full-scale data analytics, MarketCast is uniquely qualified to provide a valuable service to motion picture studios to help grow their audience attendance and enjoyment, both domestic and foreign.”

“MarketCast is a leader in its field, with incredibly loyal, blue-chip customers and a tenured team of committed entertainment marketing experts and analysts,” said Jerry L. Johnson, Managing Director of RLJ Equity Partners. “We are excited to form this strategic alliance with MarketCast management to capitalize on the company’s ongoing opportunities for expansion via organic growth and acquisitions.”

“This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for MarketCast,” said Henry Shapiro, CEO of MarketCast. “RLJ Equity Partners, with its vast global network and long-standing experience in the entertainment business, is the perfect partner for us as we continue to invest in new products and services, and in expanding our footprint into new and emerging forms of entertainment distribution and marketing.”
“Partnering with the MarketCast team to carve out the business and establish it as a standalone entity was an important chapter in the company’s history,” commented Will Wynperle, Partner at Shamrock Capital Advisors. “We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with MarketCast during this critical phase of its growth.”

RLJ Equity Partners and GE Asset Management were joined in the transaction by Madison Capital Funding, RLJ Credit Management, LLC, and Brookside Mezzanine. MarketCast was advised by Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a leading independent investment bank for the global media, information, marketing, and technology sectors.

About RLJ Equity Partners

RLJ Equity Partners is a middle-market private equity firm focused on generating long-term capital appreciation by investing in profitable and growing businesses led by strong management teams. Founded in 2006 by Robert L. Johnson in partnership with The Carlyle Group, RLJ originates structures and invests in traditional buy-outs, recapitalizations, and growth capital infusions. RLJ Equity Partners is a portfolio company of The RLJ Companies. For more information, visit www.rljequitypartners.com.

About GE Asset Management

A wholly-owned subsidiary of GE Company, GE Asset Management Incorporated (GEAM) is a global asset manager with $117 billion in assets under management (as of September 30, 2014). GEAM and its predecessor organizations have been managing investments for GE’s U.S. employee pension and benefits plans for over 80 years. Today GEAM manages portfolios for global clients in all major asset classes, including U.S. and international equities, fixed income and alternative assets. Client assets are invested side-by-side with the corresponding portfolios of GE’s benefit plans and managed by the same investment professionals, aligning GEAM’s interests with those of its clients. GEAM has a twenty-five year track record in private equity and currently manages more than US$6 billion in private equity investments.

About MarketCast

Based in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, Boston, and London, MarketCast is a leading provider of marketing research services for the global entertainment industry. Through a variety of consulting services backed by rigorously scientific quantitative and qualitative research methods, MarketCast works in collaboration with marketers and researchers across the entertainment spectrum in the development and execution of their marketing strategies, from early concept exploration through primary and ancillary distribution windows. MarketCast services are available worldwide, and include materials testing (trailers, TV spots, print ads, etc.), concept and positioning studies, exit polls, recruited audience screenings, tracking studies, and focus groups, as well as a host of custom offerings including brand/franchise studies, title tests, post-release studies, and attitudes and usage studies. For more information, visit www.mcast.com.