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Bluestone Equity’s Bold Leap Into Showbiz World: $20M Investment in RWS Global

Bluestone Equity Partners establishes its footprint in the entertainment industry with a first-time investment of nearly $20 million in RWS Global. The article explores the firm's strategy, the role of RWS's Founder and CEO, and how this move signifies a broader trend in private-market investments towards entertainment and sports sectors.

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Russell Weaver
Russell Weaver
Russell Weaver is a renowned writer, celebrated for his vibrant storytelling and intricate world-building. Beyond being an writer, he's an artist, dedicated to crafting stories that captivate, transform, and linger.
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Bluestone Equity Partners, conceived by ex-NBA executive Bobby Sharma, is making its entrance into the showbiz industry with a debut transaction. The firm demonstrates its bullish sentiment towards the sector by investing close to $20 million in RWS Global.

RWS Global, a prominent New York corporation, concentrates on fundamental aspects of the entertainment business model: design, casting, and programming for large-scale entertainment destinations and platforms. Their clientele consists of theme parks, popular Broadway musicals, prestigious museums, and well-known cruise liners such as Disney and Carnival.

Injecting Sporty Visions in Entertainment

While founding Bluestone in the preceding year, Sharma communicated his vision to proliferate RWS’s potential by extending their services to the sports industry.

“In the midst of an economic recession and unstable macroeconomic scenarios, sports have proven to offer stability and steady growth. These attributes are cherished over a couple of generations, making sports an attractive sector,” commented Sharma.

The Role of RWS’s Chief in Bluestone Equity’s Investment

Ryan Stana, the Founder & CEO of RWS, was an actor with theatre as his educational focus from the University of Cincinnati. His intern stint at Broadway production was the initial stepping stone in his career in the entertainment industry, and the insights gathered during this phase are crucial to understanding the demands of talent and clients alike.

An Uptick in Entertainment and Sports Deals

Bluestone Equity’s major transaction comes amidst an escalating trend of private-equity firms investing in entertainment and sports ventures. For instance, Blackstone is in the middle of developing Manhattan’s significant production-studio complex in partnership with Vornado Realty Trust. Similarly, RedBird Capital Partners and Shamrock Capital Advisors have also solidified their investments in the coverage area this year.

Private-market companies equipped with substantial capital are in dynamic positions to support these transactions. As of last year, global funds, wholly or partially committed to the sports industry, secured around $23.65 billion in financing from private-equity and venture-capital firms, as indicated by data from PitchBook Data.

Bluestone’s Inaugural Funds and RWS Deal

To target growth-stage firms across the spectrum of sports, media, and entertainment, Bluestone had been successful in accumulating $300 million in its inaugural fund in the early part of the year. The investment in RWS marks Bluestone’s second venture out of this fund, providing them with two seats on RWS’s board of directors.

Back in July, Bluestone pulled off a minor coup by acquiring a stake in PMY Group, a company servicing major public venues, essential infrastructures, and sporting and entertainment events. This deal is estimated to have been worth approximately $30 million.

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