“One thing famous sports and music figures bring to a private equity firm is brand awareness, which certainly cannot hurt fundraising… Everyone will take a meeting with Bono, Steve Young and Yao Ming.”
Who Said It. Bruno Roy, managing partner of McKinsey & Co.’s office in Beijing in a Private Equity Beat article.
In Context: Private equity has often been a second (or third) career choice for former presidents and prime ministers, even rock stars and Hollywood actors. But professional sports figures have been rare in private equity, which is why the news that NBA basketball pro Yao Ming has started a new PE company caught our eye. There were several articles reporting that Yao Ming is taking his private equity activity and interest to the next level by acquiring and rebranding a Chinese PE fund manager, now called Chongqing Yufu Assets Management Group.
It is not only fundraising where celebrities can help PE funds, they can also raise awareness of the brand amongst target companies, which can help in generating dealflow, says the WSJ article. Less likely is that a sports superstar would be successful in deal sourcing.
Yao is no stranger to PE deals. He backed the launch of D&F Capital, China’s first sports industry-focused private equity fund. He has previously invested in music site Top100.cn, and global satellite navigation systems provider, Beijing UniStrong, according to Alt Assets. Yao Ming is also working with charity WildAid, among others, and that is where we sourced the image for this article. (Image sources: Yao Ming Foundation and WildAid)
Where we found it: WSJ Blog: Private Equity Beat