Sports investing veteran Bobby Sharma has rolled out a $300 million sports-focused private equity fund, Bluestone Equity Partners. Bluestone is seeking to acquire minority and control stakes in sports teams and leagues around the world, through both equity and debt.
“Our fund was oversubscribed with interest, with a single closing consisting exclusively of institutional-grade capital,” said Sharma in a press release Wednesday. “This not only reflects a high degree of investor confidence in Bluestone, but also a validation of our differentiated strategy to unlock value through both control and minority positions across sectors and asset types.”
According to paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, Bluestone has just under $301 million in assets to deploy, including uncalled capital commitments. In addition to team stakes, the fund will consider esports, media and entertainment companies around the globe. No investments made by the fund have been disclosed.
Sharma has lengthy experience in the sports and investing world, most recently as chairman of Blue Devil Holdings, which according to its website holds stakes in undisclosed sports teams, among other investments. He also was a managing partner at Electronic Sports Group, an esports mergers and acquisition advisory firm, for five years. Also in recent years, Sharma was a partner at private equity firm GACP Sports, a founding member at venture capital firm NextGen Ventures and vice chairman of soccer events business Soccerex—a part of GACP’s portfolio, according to information filed with the SEC.
Early last decade Sharma was global head of basketball and strategic initiatives at IMG, briefly overlapping with chairman Ted Forstmann before the famed investor’s death in 2011. Prior to that, he was general counsel of the NBA’s G-League for about nine years.
“At IMG, Bobby was a respected and trusted colleague, and worked closely with both me and Ted Forstmann,” Michael J. Dolan, a former IMG CEO, said. “In many ways, Bluestone carries forward that legacy of creating value in sports, media and entertainment as an asset class.”
Joining Sharma as partner is Kyle Charters, who spent the past decade at investment bank Inner Circle Sports, where he established and ran its technology and services practice, according to the release. Walker Brumskine, who joins from Apollo Global Management, and Jack Ross, coming over from The Blackstone Group, are also executives in the venture.