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TPG Growth invests in African music biz

TPG, since 2014 the majority owner of Creative Artists Agency, has bought into Trace, an "afro-urban" entertainment group active in live music, TV, radio and more

By Jon Chapple on 22 Jan 2018

Wyclef Jean headlined the inaugural Trace Live

Wyclef Jean headlined the inaugural Trace Live

image © Jean-Marc Alexia (

TPG Growth, the middle-market/growth capital division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) majority owner TPG Capital, is to acquire a majority stake in Trace, an leading African urban media brand whose portfolio includes TV channels, radio stations, a music streaming service and several live music events.

Alongside Evolution Media, CAA’s investment arm, and Satya Capital, a London-based, Africa-focused investment firm, TPG Growth will become the majority owner of Trace, with the company’s co-founder and management team holding the remaining stake. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Trace, the leading youth media brand in sub-Saharan Africa, owns and operates 30 digital and mobile services, 21 pay-TV channels and seven FM radio stations, broadcasting more than 400 concerts and other music programming annually. It also hosts its own talent competition, Trace Music Star, a music awards show, Trace Awards, and music festival Trace Live, which was held at La Place, the hip-hop cultural centre, in Paris for the first time in June 2017.

“We are well-positioned to build on our success and accelerate our transformation into the leading global afro-urban digital entertainment group”

“By partnering with TPG Growth, a global investor known for its ability to grow and scale businesses, we are well-positioned to build on our success and accelerate our transformation into the leading global afro-urban digital entertainment group,” says the France-headquartered company’s co-founder, chairman and CEO, Olivier Laouchez. “We will leverage our unique assets and TPG Growth’s deep experience with groundbreaking entertainment and technology businesses to launch ‘episode two’ of Trace.”

“The African music and entertainment industry is dynamic and has experienced huge growth in the last decade, driven by the booming youth population and rapid adoption of digital technology,” adds Yemi Lalude, managing partner at TPG Africa.

“We are very excited to help grow the Trace brand not only in Africa but worldwide.”

TPG Growth’s existing investments in Africa include agricultural data business Gro Intelligence, Moroccan private school network Ecoles Yassamine and Nigerian used-car firm Frontier Car Group.


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