When, in January, news broke that former interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn had been named the CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, everybody stifled yawns.
It’s rude to say that, but GDM runs trade publications Billboard, AdWeek, and The Hollywood Reporter.
Those are nice publications with strong brands and loyal, if small, audiences.
Ross Levinsohn was running Yahoo, a $20 billion company with 700 million users, only months before.
Levinsohn has always been a guy who likes to make big, splashy industry-changing deals. He once sold MySpace’s ad inventory to Google for $900 million.
What was he doing running a collection of trade publications?
It turns out Levinsohn is actually up to something more exciting.
He’s got a huge sack of cash stuffed with billions of dollars, and he’s out looking for media companies to buy with it.
A source in the deals community tells us Levinsohn is looking at companies from Hulu to Vox, the parent company of The Verge and SB Nation.
We weren’t told so, but you have to figure Buzzfeed is also on his radar.
Where’s the money from?
Guggenheim Digital Media is backed by Guggenheim Partners.
It has $170 billion under management.
It’s the same firm that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for more than $2 billion last year. It also spent $370 million on Dick Clark Productions, which owns the Golden Globes and So You Think You Can Dance?.
And yes, it’s the same Guggenheim family that has its name on one of New York’s best museums.
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