Charles D. King’s Macro Raises $90M to Broaden Media Ambitions
Macro, the multicultural film and TV studio as well as brand marketing agency founded by former WME partner Charles D. King, is taking on new outside financing from investment banks and asset managers to fuel its entertainment ambitions.
The New York-based investment giant BlackRock is leading a $90 million raise for Macro, with Harbourview Equity Partners and Goldman Sachs Asset Management participating in the round, the company said March 6. The capital infusion is the first major fundraising haul since the multimedia company took $150 million in equity and debt from investors including Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, the Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and more in 2017, two years after its initial launch.
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BlackRock’s backing arrives through its BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund, which targets investment in companies owned or led by individuals from underrepresented communities. “In particular, we will markedly expand our efforts in the development and ownership of IP, strengthen our connectivity with consumers and broaden the range of services provided by our brand vertical and representation partnership,” stated King of plans for deploying the capital.
Macro, based in Los Angeles, has 30 staffers currently, and includes the Stacey Walker King-run in-house creative agency Brand Macro and Stephanie Piza-led brand management firm UNCMMN. Other investors in the company include AMC Networks, Essence Ventures and financier Clara Wu.
Macro’s features include Judas and the Black Messiah, an acclaimed film which nabbed five Oscar nominations (and a win for Daniel Kaluuya) but was released simultaneously in Feb. 2021 on HBO Max and in theaters in the depths of the pandemic and grossed about $7.5 million globally. The Michael B. Jordan-led biopic Just Mercy fared better at the box office in 2019 with $50 million worldwide, while its Angel Kristi Williams-directed romantic drama Really Love bowed on Netflix in 2021.
Pam Chan, chief investment officer & global head at BlackRock’s Alternative Solutions Group, stated that Macro had proved to produce “award-winning TV and film content focused on people of color, which has historically been short in supply but high in demand.” Upcoming features for Macro include the Oakland-set Freaky Tales, from Captain Marvel directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, as well as Netflix sci-fi feature They Cloned Tyrone starring John Boyega and Jamie Foxx.
Macro launched in 2015 with eight-figure backing from investors (including Emerson Collective and the now UTA-owned MediaLink) and plans to finance projects with budgets up to $20 million. The firm boarded prestige projects out of the gate including the Viola Davis and Denzel Washington-starrer Fences (which grossed $64 million) as well as Washington’s Roman J. Israel, Esq ($13 million) and Mudbound (a Netflix feature that claimed four Oscar nominations).
Last September, the film division of Macro inked a multiyear, first-look deal with Amazon Studios. The company is also working with Apple TV+ on the David Oyelowo-starring dramedy series Government Cheese, which received an order from the streaming giant last year.
In 2020, King partnered with WME agent Phil Sun to form the management firm M88, which counts Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Ryan Coogler, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Gemma Chan among its clients. M88, which is majority owned by Macro, will be another beneficiary of the new funding round, as the company says it aims to expand operations for the firm, which counts 20 employees.
Sherrese Clarke Soares, CEO of investor HarbourView Equity, added that Macro can bridge an “equity gap in Hollywood by creating culturally authentic and socially relevant content.”