Videogame guru to co-launch fund

John Riccitiello is stepping down as president of Electronic Arts to set up a media-and- entertainment fund with Silver Lake veteran Roger McNamee.

After six years as president of the world’s largest videogame maker Electronic Arts, John Riccitiello, credited with establishing his company’s global eminence, is resigning in order to help launch a private equity fund aimed at consumer media and entertainment investments.


Roger McNamee, co-founder of Integral Capital Partners and Silver Lake Partners, which recently closed a $3.6 billion fund, will join Riccitiello in making corporate buyout and startup investments.


According to news reports, the new fund is targeting the $1 billion (€829 million) range and is looking to close before the end of the year. Marc Bodnick, a Silver Lake director, is also expected to join the team.


The news reports stated that the new fund would target market leaders in established categories, with the goal of acquiring divisions or subsidiaries, and would complete large transactions as well as partner with other private equity firms.


Riccitiello helped push Electronic Arts to the top of the videogame market by acquiring licenses for several notable movie franchises, including James Bond, and establishing a solid connection between Hollywood and videogames. The company’s stock hit an all-time high just days after Riccitiello announced his departure.


McNamee is known in Silicon Valley for his expertise in Internet and technology investments. He is credited with leading Silver Lake’s buyout of disk-drive maker Seagate Technology in 2000; Texas Pacific Group and August Capital also participated in the company’s privatization. When Seagate went public again in 2001, Silver Lake earned a return of more than $1.5 billion on its $300 million investment.


Last month, Silver Lake joined Warburg Pincus and Bain Capital in a $2.05 billion agreement to buy UGS PLM Solutions, a division of EDS, the systems services company.   Each firm contributed approximately the same amount to the purchase of the Texas-based firm, which is a ‘product lifecycle management’ software maker.