McNamee-dia mogul

Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, whose big-name investors include Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Dell’s Michael Dell, closed a $3.6 billion technology fund last month -- the biggest ever in that sector.

But that’s not enough excitement for Silver Lake co-founder Roger McNamee. He’s reducing his role at the Silicon Valley firm from managing director to advisory director so he can start a media-focused buyout fund. “For media and entertainment companies, technology is disrupting business models and, in some cases, whole markets,” explains McNamee. “The industry is full of conglomerates that have had a hard time generating synergy across markets.” Disney and Time Warner are obvious examples. McNamee believes that his new, as-yet-unnamed fund can develop such synergies by acquiring and refocusing divisions or subsidiaries of major media companies. “It’s just really fun to create something out of nothing,” says McNamee, 48, who has had a habit of shifting investment gears. In 1991, after nine years as a research analyst and portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price Associates, he co-founded Integral Capital Partners, a Menlo Park, California, venture and public-stage investment firm whose holdings include Analog Devices and EBay. In 1999, while remaining a general partner at Integral, he helped found Silver Lake, a pioneering large-scale technology fund with such portfolio companies as Island ECN (now part of Instinet Group) and Seagate Technology. Noting that Silver Lake shied away from media and entertainment opportunities because it lacked industry expertise, McNamee has named as a founding partner of his new fund John Riccitiello, 45, a former president and COO of video game publisher Electronic Arts. (McNamee has brought along Silver Lake principal Marc Bodnick, 35, as another founding partner.) One of Riccitiello’s fortes at Electronic Arts -- licensing of content -- will likely be critical in extracting value from the fund’s buyouts.