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Volume 26 No. 208
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Smart Play: Athletes Becoming Increasingly Involved In Investments

Athletes are "looking for opportunities to invest their money," as rising salaries and lucrative endorsement deals have many of them "flush with cash," according to Benjamin Mullin of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. In turn, investment firms are "working to connect them with private-equity deals they might not otherwise find or have access to." Over the years, "many wealthy athletes have been entrepreneurs and investors." Now, some "big-name sports stars pursue deals on their own or through firms they have set up." Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Ventures has "invested in electric scooter startup Lime and investing app Robin Hood," while the late Kobe Bryant "co-founded the Bryant Stibel venture-capital firm, which made more than two dozen investments, including in the creator of Fortnite," Epic Games. N.Y.-based Patricof Co. has an investor roster that "includes about 60 current and former professional athletes." The firm "invests money it raises from athletes and other sources and invests alongside major private-equity firms." Patricof keeps "about 20% of the returns and gives the rest back to the athletes and other investors." A Patricof spokesperson "declined to say how much money has been paid to athletes as a result of the investments," but added that the company has shown "positive returns based on the price of stock for RealReal -- which went public after the firm's investment" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/14).