Mergers & Acquisitions names the 2021 Rising Stars of Private Equity, including RedBird’s Niraj Shah.

In a market where valuations are at an all-time high, RedBird Capital’s Shah is taking his time. “With the amount of capital available, low interest rates and the threat of inflation, it’s even more important to be able to take a long -term view and not get caught up in the short-term market euphoria,” Shah told Mergers & Acquisitions. Shah focuses on sports and media investments, and despite the pandemic’s disruption of live events, he remained active. Since 2014, Shah has co-led four deals and been involved in nine. Shah joined RedBird from Apax Partners as an associate and has since been promoted to vice president and principal. “In a time when just about everything was uncertain in the markets, he maintained a long-term view on current and future investments,” RedBird partner Alec Scheiner added.

Sports Fan
As one of the initial investment professionals hired by RedBird in 2014, Shah has been involved in every sports, media and entertainment investment since the firm’s inception. He helped drive RedBird’s March 2021 investment in Fenway Sports Group. FSG is a global sports, marketing, media, entertainment, and real estate platform anchored by two of the world’s most iconic clubs, the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. Shah assisted in leading diligence, business planning and identification of growth initiatives, negotiation and structuring, as well as league approvals. In August 2020, RedBird partnered with Oakland Athletics executive and minority owner Billy Beane to launch a SPAC called RedBall Acquisition Corp. Shah worked on the creation and structuring of the $575 million SPAC and is engaged in assessing potential targets.

Back in Action
As the pandemic forced many businesses to alter their operations, “RedBird was in the unique position to support the entirety of its portfolio companies, given their active relationships with the management teams,” Shah said. “Luckily, in 2020, we laid the groundwork with many of our portfolio companies to be ready for the return of live events and to execute on strategic opportunities.” Some of those initiatives, according to Shah, include: helping the YES Network develop its sports gaming and direct-to-consumer strategies and helping drive the business plan for the planned XFL relaunch.