China's participation in "the World Trade Organization is already happening, the Olympics are coming up in 2008, and domestic brands such as Legend [computers] and Haier [appliances] are springing up," the Redgate chairman-CEO notes. To advertisers' dismay, however, the mainland's media market is highly fragmented. Mr. Brack hopes to take advantage of both trends-growth and fragmentation. Fueled by Asian and U.S. investors, Redgate will invest in undervalued yet profitable ad-supported magazines and newspapers, and eventually expand into radio and TV.
Once Redgate gathers a comprehensive network of key demographics across China's major cities, "we can offer a fantastic network of partner companies to provide seamless deals for advertisers," Mr. Brack says.
At 31, Mr. Brack is already a China pro. He's also no stranger to the media and advertising world. His father is Reginald K. Brack, former chairman-CEO of Time Inc. and a board member at Interpublic Group of Cos.
In 1993, Peter Brack was one of Turner Broadcasting System's first six employees at its Asian base in Hong Kong. He managed Time Inc.'s Asiaweek, and rose to Time Inc.'s highest position in the region as senior VP, responsible for Time's and Fortune's Asian editions.
Mr. Brack won't identify his initial acquisition targets, which include sports, fashion, travel and electronics titles plus men's and women's lifestyle magazines. But he insists he's "closing deals now."
Apart from content, there are few barriers to investment. Companies such as Redgate can buy up to 49% of local media companies and introduce Western-style management, sales, marketing and accounting skills.
Mr. Brack, an American, and his four employees, mainland Chinese with media or banking backgrounds, face little competition.
"No one is doing this already, although a lot of people are looking at media in China," he says. "The market is so big, there's room for other businesses."