Veteran Media Executives Join Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Next-generation Media & Technology Company

LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Candle Media (“Candle”), the next-generation media company run by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by investment capital from Blackstone has hired veteran media executives Brent Weinstein and Salil Mehta as Chief Development Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. The two executives will work closely with Mayer and Staggs to help drive Candle’s strategic, operational, and investment priorities. Weinstein will oversee new business development with an emphasis on social media, creator economy, ecommerce and Web3-centric opportunities. Mehta will oversee Candle’s overall financial operations in conjunction with the finance teams inside each of Candle’s business units. Both will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to the co-CEOs Mayer and Staggs. Mehta’s appointment was effective January 3 and Weinstein is expected to join February 1.

“We’ve known both Brent and Salil for many years and they are a fantastic addition to our core team at Candle,” said Mayer and Staggs. “Each brings substantial experience and expertise, and they will be instrumental in facilitating growth across our portfolio of companies and helping us identify new investment and business development opportunities.”

Weinstein has most recently been a senior UTA partner, serving as the company’s Chief Innovation Officer, and is one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative digital media executives. Over nearly 20 years, Weinstein has been at the forefront of many of UTA’s key growth initiatives, including leading UTA’s entry into the Digital Talent business, and overseeing the development of its Live Events, Podcasting, Ventures, Heartland and NFT divisions. Weinstein also co-managed UTA’s industry-leading Insights and News divisions and drove growth strategies for additional practice areas including UTA’s Global Music business. Weinstein has played a central role integrating its numerous acquisitions and has helped drive key technology and other corporate growth initiatives.

During his tenure at UTA, Weinstein worked closely with Brian Robbins in the creation, development and ultimate sale of AwesomenessTV. Weinstein created Keywords Press, an influencer-focused publishing imprint in partnership with Simon & Schuster. In addition to advising numerous talent and content-centric companies, Weinstein has played a central role in the development of UTA’s Ventures division that has launched a number of successful new businesses and has invested in companies including Axie Infinity, Cameo, MasterClass & Patreon.

“Kevin, Tom and Blackstone have an inspiring vision for leveraging the technology-driven convergence of – and significant opportunities within – content, community and commerce,” said Weinstein. “I’m excited to join their growing team, and I’m grateful to UTA for an exhilarating and rewarding 20 years that have prepared me for this role.”

Salil Mehta, one of the industry’s most versatile executives, will bring a wealth of financial, strategic and operating experience to Candle. Mehta has held senior executive roles at the largest and most successful media brands in film, television, digital and interactive games, including Disney, ESPN, Comcast/NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox, and he has had a professional relationship with Mayer and Staggs for over 25 years.

Mehta previously served as President of FoxNext Games, where he engineered one of the most successful recent mobile game startups in the entertainment sector and helped orchestrate the sale of that business to Scopely. After Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Mehta added the title of General Manager of Disney’s digital media where he oversaw Disney’s ad-supported digital businesses. Prior to Mehta’s role at FoxNext Games, he held a variety of divisional CFO and senior operating executive roles at 20th Century Fox, NBCUniversal and ESPN. He managed Fox’s global television distribution; digital properties such as ESPN.com and Fandango; and oversaw the financial operations of Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo, and lifestyle cable channels such as Bravo, Oxygen and Style. Mehta played a key role in the integration of Comcast and NBCUniversal, in the successful bidding by Telemundo for World Cup broadcast rights, and served on the original board of Hulu and the boards of A&E Entertainment Networks and the Weather Channel. Mehta also held a variety of roles in Disney’s strategic planning group which he joined in 1994 where he first met Mayer and Staggs. He was most recently CFO of Forest Road Acquisition Corp, a blank check company led by Mayer and Staggs.

“Tom and Kevin are simply the best at seeing around corners in this industry, and to be able to join them and Blackstone in their effort to build the modern media company is simply a dream come true,” said Mehta. “I have been a colleague of Tom and Kevin’s at Disney, and then, while at NBCU and Fox, had to compete with the Disney they helped build– I greatly prefer being their colleague once again!”

By bringing together elite talent operating at the intersection of content, community, and commerce, Candle helps position leading entertainment businesses for accelerated, sustainable growth in the current market and beyond. The company has previously announced acquisitions of Hello Sunshine, the mission-driven media company, founded by Reese Witherspoon, that puts women at the center of every story it creates; Moonbug Entertainment, the digital-first, global children’s entertainment company behind highly popular I.P. such as CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum, and many others; Faraway Road Productions, founded by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, who created the hit shows Fauda and Hit & Run; and a strategic minority investment in Westbrook Inc., the media company founded by Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Miguel Melendez and Ko Yada, focused on empowering artists to tell stories that connect the world. Blackstone’s investment in Candle has been made through funds affiliated with the firm’s flagship private equity business.

About Blackstone

Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative asset manager. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our $731 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.

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Media

Matt Anderson

518-248-7310

Matthew.Anderson@Blackstone.com

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