Peter Kafka

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Peter Chernin Rounds Up Another $100 Million, This Time From Qatar

Peter Chernin, the longtime News Corp. executive who is now running his own media and technology fund, has landed another slug of investment money, this time from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

Chernin and Qatar Holding aren’t commenting on financial details, but people familiar with the transaction say the Arab state is putting around $100 million into the Chernin Group. Earlier this year, Chernin struck a separate financing deal with Providence Equity Partners and other backers.

Last month, news reports placed Chernin in talks to combine his firm with Endemol and Core Media Group, two powerful reality-TV producers. Chernin wouldn’t discuss whether the new funding deal would end those talks, or even acknowledge that the conversations existed. “I have no interest in commenting on what’s essentially a rumor,” he says.

Chernin does say he’ll use the new money in the same way he plans to use the money he had already raised — as “firepower” for a strategy he had already laid out: Build up media assets in emerging markets like China, produce film and TV shows in the U.S., and make investment bets on media/tech companies like Tumblr, Flipboard and Pandora.

He says Facebook’s IPO struggles haven’t changed the last part of that thesis. “I think it’s probably made the landscape more attractive, because valuations have gotten more attractive,” he says.

Chernin was News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch’s longtime lieutenant, and left that company in 2009 with a signficant production deal; News Corp. also owns this Web site.

Here’s a highlight reel from a chat I had with Chernin about a year ago, when he appeared at our Asia: D conference in Hong Kong:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work