Ross Levinsohn now works for the guys who own the Dodgers. The former interim CEO of Yahoo — he was at the shaky helm between the controversial exit of Scott Thompson and the potentially game-changing hire of Marissa Mayer from Google — has been named CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media.
He replaces Dottie Mattison, who had only been on the job since last July, and will oversee a suite of properties that includes the Hollywood Reporter, AdWeek, and Billboard (all of which, it should be noted, are not purely digital publications). These used to operate under the aegis of Prometheus Global Media, but Guggenheim Partners has taken the opportunity of a marquee hire to rename the company.
Guggenheim Partners did something similar when it bought the Los Angeles Dodgers last year for more than $2 billion, creating an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Management in the process.
The Los Angeles Times suggests that Guggenheim's plans going forward with its various sports and media properties amount to "we have a lot of money and we're going to be buying things."
But do they really have a lot of money? Increasingly, it looks as if Guggenheim Partners — a not-very-well-known firm, as Andrew Ross Sorkin noted last year — is spinning off its own private equity business, investing in risky assets such as sports teams, media entities, and even outfits like Dick Clark Productions, which Guggenheim snapped up last year.
Guggenheim Partners has $160 billion under management, so on paper, the firm does have money. The question is whether its investments are going to pan out. Guggenheim is certainly in a spending frame of mind. The Dodgers have a payroll above $200 million for 2013, and Levinsohn was pulling in $1.4 million when he left Yahoo, with stock-related compensation of millions more.