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Callum Murray Interview - George Pyne | Interviews | Insights
He' s a big fella, George Pyne. We are here to speak about Bruin Shareholders Capital (the name he picked when it was just "me and a phone" is certainly no coincidence), the worldwide sport advertising and investments company that Pyne founded in January 2015 after leaving IMG where he was chairman of IMG Worldwide Shareholders and Entertainment after being taken over by WME, the Hollywood talents agent.
The Bruin brand started with $500 million in purchasing strength, of which about a third was provided by a consortium that included WPP, the British advertiser, and the remainder through private capital. It has since made three large investment projects and most recently entered the Euro zone almost a year ago with the takeover of Deltatre, the global provider of sporting goods and entertainment solutions, with a transaction volume of around 145 million euros (then 161 million dollars).
Mr. Bruin also holds the On Location Experiences hospitality business and the experienced Engine Shop marketers and co-finances Courtside Ventures, a $35 million venture capitalist focused on sports tech and medium start-ups, along with other venture capitalists such as WPP and Dan Gilbert, the NBA's Cleveland Cavalier major shareholder and Quicken Loans mortgage banker.
Of 14 bids Bruin made to purchase businesses or parts of businesses, seven were approved (a "high average," Pyne claims), but he is hesitant to speak about Bruin's purchasing strength now, although I realize that it made at least one (unsuccessful) bid valued at a multiple of the initial $500 million.
"Pyne says it was important to emphasize the $500 million character early on so folks would know we were legit. "The IMG had Teddy Forstmann [who used to own IMG when Pyne worked for it] used to say that it's important to name the money you have of. Pyne refers to the deceased Forstmann, who died prematurely in 2011, seven years after the takeover of IMG by his holding Forstmann Little, as one of several in the course of the interviews.
It is clear that together with Roger Penske, the iconic IndyCar and Nascar crew member, he had a significant impact on Pynes' carreer (Pyne worked for Nascar for over 10 years, most recently as CEO until he joined IMG in 2006). Court Side probably gets "three or four ouvertures aweek, which is almost overwhelming," says Pyne.
But, does Bruin want to buy a company, create added value and resell it at a price, in the classical way of VC, as I maintain? Everybody asks him that, Pyne answers, but he doesn't get pulled. "He says the response is that we have long-term patients' equity and are trying to start a business.
Similarly, "We have a wide client base in sport, amusement and broadcast, but the first thing I'm looking for is opportunities for growth," says Pyne. "This can come from [market] segments: for example, there are many changes in the medias with Deltatre. Thought I' d like to find a business that would bring me in the midst of this transformation.
It is a growing sector. After Claude London, a Google manager, was recently assigned to lead a new department, the Milan-based firm is also extending its activities on the American continent and aiming for new league and channel deals in the area. Of course, not all the investment that Bruin had in mind came about, as Pyne's 50 per-cent strike rating shows.
"Maybe you can't find the kind of growability you thought was there, or you can't come to a pricing agreement," he states. He also saw further opportunities for expansion at On Location Experiences, formerly known as NFL On Location, which Bruin took over from the NFL on its first big deals and last year took over Anthony Travel, an agent specializing in packaged entertainment for recreational and college sporting venues.
Courtside, which takes up a "dynamic room in constantly evolving sport technologies ", has established a two-week trial that Pyne compares to "Shark Tank", the US real-life TV show similar to the British "Dragon's Den", in which the company's co-heads present possible investment to a body of Bruin directors and other sector coaches.
Bruin's capital spending goals must therefore be expansion opportunities, visions, in the midst of a canal shift, not just focusing on cash and being guided by good road users? The Pyne was founded in September 1965 in the small city of Milford, Massachusetts, where the name George Pyne was widely known and venerated.
While George Pyne II, his grandpa who passed away in 1974, spent a seasons playing for the NFL's Providence Steam Roller, George Pyne III, his dad who passed away two years ago, spent a seasons playing for the then Boston Patriots (now New England Patriots) in the American Football League, which fused with the NFL in 1970.
Jim's NFL squad member performed for nine NFL sessions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. Personally Pyne himself acted for Brown Academy at College Footbal, an Ivy League College in Providence, Rhode Island, earned All-Ivy League and All-New England honors and served as Brown Bears Commander.
and your father and grandfather were playing in the NFL..." What kind of sporting activities does Pyne see as having great opportunities for expansion? Back to his motorsport origins, he immediately identified Formula 1 since its acquisition by Liberty Media and the transition from former promo driver Bernie Ecclestone to Chase Carey, its new president and CEO, and Sean Bratches, its CRO.