Legendary media investor Gordon Crawford, the man behind the scenes of some of the biggest cable deals of the past 30 years, will retire from Capital Group Cos., at the end of the year, a spokesman for the group of investment funds said.
Crawford, 65, has spent more than four decades at Capital Group as a media analyst and portfolio manager, and played an integral role in shaping the media landscape in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently senior vice president at Capital Group, serving as fund manager for its $129 billion Growth Fund of America, as well as helping to manage its $20.1 billion Small Cap World Fund and the $7.7 billion New Economy Fund.
A regular at the annual Allen & Co. media retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, Crawford counts top media moguls like Liberty Media chairman John Malone, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and IAC chairman Barry Diller as friends. According to some reports, Crawford convinced his fishing buddy Ted Turner to sell Turner Broadcasting to Time Warner Inc. in 1995, and helped ease former AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case toward an early exit in 2003. In 2001, Crawford's funds sold off about $1.9 billion of Walt Disney Co. stock, which many investors saw as a major no-confidence vote for then-chairman and CEO Michael Eisner. Eisner stepped down from Disney in 2005.
His funds continue to be major media investors, holding substantial stakes in Time Warner Inc., Comcast, News Corp., Liberty Media, DirecTV and Lions Gate Entertainment, to name a few.
According to a Capital Global spokesman, a team of managers will take over responsibility for Crawford's assets. The transition is expected to be smooth - Crawford is one of five portfolio counselors for The New Economy Fund, one of 12 for the Growth Fund of America and one of 13 for the Small Cap World Fund..
"We don't expect there to be any problems or dislocations as a result of this very gradual transition," said Capital Group spokesman Chuck Freadhoff.
Crawford's retirement won't mean that he has lost the investment bug all together. Earlier this month he joined a group of investors that pumped about $128 million into Legendary Pictures, producer of blockbuster films like The Dark Knight, The Hangover and Inception for Warner Bros. Studios.
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