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Blue Equity Puts a Little Music into Its Mix with Acquisition

February 28, 2008

Blue Equity’s acquisition of the business of Kenneth Crear, manager to musical artists including Janet Jackson, is only the beginning of the sports company’s plans to build an entertainer management business.

“I am in talks with three powerful music managers,” said Crear, in a telephone interview last week. Crear would not name the music managers he and Michael Principe, Blue Equity’s COO, are in talks to acquire, but said he hopes to announce the deals by June of this year.

Blue Equity, a Louisville, Ky.-based private equity firm that launched a sports agency in 2006 by acquiring the tennis, television and events businesses of the former SFX Sports, announced earlier this month that it had acquired Crear’s firm, Management Group International. In addition to Jackson, Crear also manages rapper Chamillionaire and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and is the producer of the E! Television reality show “House of Carters.” Additionally, Crear has a development deal with actor Will Smith’s production agency, Overbook, for a television series called “Uncle Rudy.”

Principe said, “Kenneth is a music manager who is very, very experienced in the entertainment world and, being based in Hollywood, is going to focus on managing his clients’ careers, growing our entertainment business and identifying cross-platform opportunities for our athletes and entertainers.”

Kenneth Crear’s firm manages Nick Carter, among others, and produces his E! Television reality show. Crear said the acquisition of his company provided the “missing piece” for Blue Equity’s plan to build a full-service sports and entertainment company. He said he may be able to help some of Blue Equity’s sports clients get involved with entertainment projects.

For example, Crear said he recently had lunch with Blue Equity client and Detroit Piston Rasheed Wallace, who has an interest in doing voice-overs. “I am going to have him meet with a voice-over coach and … put him in contact with a voice-over agent,” Crear said.

But Crear cautioned, “Not everyone on that client list can transition into music and television. You have to be realistic about what you are going to achieve. You can’t have a ballplayer call and say, ‘I want to be in Pirates of the Caribbean.’”

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