Peter Kafka

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Former Yahoo Boss Ross Levinsohn Has a New Gig, and a Digital M&A War Chest

ross_levinsohnRoss Levinsohn, who wanted to run Yahoo but didn’t get the gig, has a new perch. He’s heading up a new digital media company backed by Guggenheim Partners.

Guggenheim already controlled several media trade titles, including Billboard, Adweek and the Hollywood Reporter, so Guggenheim Digital Media will start out running those.

But Levinsohn, who first made his reputation as an M&A guy at News Corp. (which owns this website), will be writing checks for new stuff soon.

Guggenheim says it will be giving him “significant capital to acquire and invest in new media companies.” Fair to assume that he has a target list drafted.

Levinsohn was last seen at Yahoo, where he started out running the company’s U.S. operations, and ended up moving into the interim CEO job in the spring of 2012. He campaigned for the permanent job, but lost out to Marissa Mayer; in between, he tried positioning Yahoo as an entertainment hub.

Guggenheim Partners started out as a management firm for the Guggenheim (the same folks behind the iconic museums in New York and Spain) family fortune; it now says it manages more than $160 billion in assets.

This isn’t Levinsohn’s first interaction with the company; in the summer of 2011, it represented Hulu’s owners as they mulled a sale, and Levinsohn was keen on having Yahoo buy the video site.

Along with Levinsohn’s new appointment, Guggenheim says it has bought out the remaining stake in the Hollywood Reporter and its other trades, which had been owned by Jimmy Finkelstein’s Pluribus Capital.


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