Partner of The Raine Group recalls his trajectory

July 2023

We held another edition of G5 Talks, this time with Joseph Ravitch, Co-Founder and Partner of The Raine Group (USA). Joe talked to Corrado Varoli, the Founding partner and CEO of G5 Partners, and with Levindo Santos, Senior Partner, and Nathaniel Wendling, Head of Strategic Advisory, about careers and businesses. G5 Talks is a project through which business leaders exchange experiences and learnings with the team at G5 Partners. During the conversation, Joe recalled historic moments from the beginning of his career, such as when he helped draft laws for the market economy in Russia, former Soviet Union, in 1990/1991. At that time, he lived in London. “I was very lucky, as my law firm had the opportunity to work directly with the Yeltsin government [Russia’s first elected president]. We began to draft laws for the Soviet Union and, ultimately, for Russia, aiming to introduce norms for people to own private property.” 

From Goldman Sachs to The Raine Group 

During his career, Joe was a Partner at Goldman Sachs and had the opportunity to work in several cities around the world, such as London and Hong Kong. He met Corrado at the bank and worked together for many years. In early 2009, he decided to start a new phase of his life and create his own business, the investment boutique The Raine Group. According to him, “the key to success was to create a differentiated strategy”, as well as investing in areas that interested him and in which he had expertise. “We are passionate about sports, entertainment, digital media and interactive services”. The Raine Group is an international investment boutique focused exclusively on the technology, media and telecommunications markets. The company has offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai and Mumbai. 

Success story 

During his conversation with G5, Joe talked about the success story of the Manchester City Football Club in which The Raine Group had an important role for its expansion. “We had the privilege of working with a group from Abu Dhabi for a long time, the Mubadala group. Through them, we met another group from Abu Dhabi that acquired the Manchester City Football Club a few years later. When the Abu Dhabi group and Sheikh Mansour acquired the Manchester City Football Club, they bought the club from Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister of Taiwan, and the football world did not give them credit. They said they had bought the wrong team in Manchester. Joe said that, at that time, no one had heard of Manchester City, only Manchester United. “The Abu Dhab group did a lot of smart things. The first was to bring in a CEO, a Catalan who had worked at FC Barcelona for many years, with experience in the business model and football. They also hired Raine to develop a strategy.” Joseph also recalls that, in the first three years after purchasing Manchester City, Abu Dhabi spent more money on buying players than any other team in the history of the Premier League. Just three years after the acquisition, they won the national championship. But Manchester City had already recorded a loss of £275 million until then. “Even with the success on the field, many still didn’t believe in the business”, he said.  

“It was then that Raine came into the game, because, at that moment, the CEO needed a strategy that would prove the purchase had been a right decision and that they would be financially successful. So, we developed a strategy for City Football and created a global football brand. We started by buying a club in Australia called Melbourne City. Melbourne City players wore uniforms with the same colors as Manchester City and they trained at Manchester’s camps. Today, the brand is very powerful and global. But ten years ago, nobody cared, or had heard about City. Nobody knew the brand.” 

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