Citi chairman joins Providence

Richard Parsons will advise the media- and communications-focused buyout firm, which is reportedly mulling a bid for the Travel Channel along with KKR and THL.

Providence Equity Partners has hired Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons as a senior advisor.

Parsons’ primary concern will continue to be Citi, and he will also retain his directorship at Estée Lauder, Providence said in a statement.

His career has been largely spent in the media industry. He joined media giant Time Warner as president in 1995 and was its chief executive from 2002 to 2007.

Parsons is the eighth addition to Providence's stable of senior advisors, which includes James Bankoff, former executive vice president of programming and products at AOL, and Michael Powell, former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission.

Providence is currently investing its sixth fund, closed on $12 billion in early 2007. The firm has not announced a fresh deal since September 2008, when it led the $290 million take-private of business process outsourcing company eTelecare.

It is reportedly considering a bid for the Travel Channel, whose regular programmes include Anthony Bourdain’s food-focused travel show, “No Reservations”, and luxury lifestyle-oriented “Super Swank”.

A Bloomberg report yesterday cited four anonymous sources saying Providence may bid for the cable TV channel along with THL and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. It is unclear if the three firms would be bidding as a syndicate or separately.

The report noted that in June, when owner Cox Communications confirmed unsolicited bids for the channel, a Barclays Capital analyst estimated the channel's value between $600 million and $700 million.