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Former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Joins Searchlight Capital as Partner

FCC chairman Ajit Pai
(Image credit: FCC)

Former Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai has joined Searchlight Capital as a partner, the investment firm said Monday.

Pai led the FCC as chairman from 2017 to 2020 under then President Donald Trump administration and first joined the Commission in 2012 after being appointed by then President Barack Obama. Prior to his FCC appointment, Pai served in various positions at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate, was a partner at the law firm of Jenner & Block and worked as in-house counsel at Verizon Communications. At Searchlight, he will focus on the company’s investments in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

During his tenure as chairman of the FCC, Pai helped advance major initiatives in 5G and other wireless technologies, led programs to help close the digital divide, promote innovation, protect consumers, public safety, and national security, and helped make the agency more open, transparent, and diverse. 

“TMT has always been a core focus at Searchlight and in recent years we have seen the opportunities in these sectors grow, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Searchlight founding partner Eric Zinterhofer said in a press release. “Given our strong presence in this space and Ajit’s distinguished career in the industry, we are excited to welcome him as our newest partner. His outstanding accomplishments at the FCC had a material impact on the broadband, wireless, and broadcast sectors, and his deep knowledge will be invaluable in accelerating our efforts in TMT and digital infrastructure.”

Searchlight is a global private investment firm with more than $8 billion in assets under management, with offices in New York, London, and Toronto and currently has holdings in Liberty Latin America, Univision Communications, Hemisphere Media Group, Ziply Fiber and others.

“I am excited to join the Searchlight team and help build on the firm’s demonstrated success in the technology media, and telecommunications sectors, especially with respect to digital infrastructure—an area that is essential to consumers and businesses in the United States and around the world,” Pai said in a press release. “Searchlight’s flexible investment strategy and partnership-driven approach have distinguished it from its peers, allowing the firm to capitalize on opportunities that provide value for its clients and the companies it invests in. I look forward to joining Eric, Erol, and Oliver, and contributing to the firm’s continued investment efforts.”

Mike Farrell
Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.