Pierre Cadena has always been fascinated by technology, but even more so with how to integrate technology with what consumers really want and help companies solve real-world problems. After over a decade in investment banking specializing in M&A and leveraged finance for JPMorgan, Bank of America, and several European institutions, in 2010, Pierre combined his passion for technology with his financial expertise and forged an equally successful career as a strategist and deal practitioner. In just the past five years, he’s helped position for sale several digital media and gaming companies each valued at more than $1 billion—first with Playtika in 2016 and then with Otter Media in 2018.
Now, as senior vice president and head of strategy and corporate development for Crunchyroll since 2016, he’s done it again with his work on the firm’s acquisition by Sony for $1.175 billion. Crunchyroll is a San Francisco-based anime brand, and most well-known for streaming video content to fans in more than 200 countries on a subscription and ad-supported basis. The company also encourages fan engagement and community through social media, events, games, consumer products, publishing and content creation, and more. And for Pierre, it’s Crunchyroll’s fans that keep him inspired to push the envelope of the consumer-driven tech evolution so that they can keep enjoying the content that brings them so much joy. “It is truly contagious. Our fans are what make Crunchyroll. They want to be involved. They’re very vocal, very passionate, they come to our events and engage in cosplay. And our employees are fans as well. For me, what makes Crunchyroll special is that passion and enthusiasm,” he shares.
In his role, Pierre is responsible for developing the Crunchyroll’s long-term growth strategy, evaluating business pursuits, and handling all mergers, acquisitions, and investments from beginning to end. He’s also in charge of guiding the company in the development of its vision, journey, and goals. For the recent Sony acquisition, Pierre called upon his tech, entertainment, and finance background to help execute the deal on behalf of Crunchyroll. “There were so many things that went into this transaction,” he remembers, “but my role in the deal was making sure the strengths and assets of Crunchyroll were properly understood and to maximize value for our stakeholders—WarnerMedia and AT&T.”
Prior to helming such acquisitions with Crunchyroll, Pierre had significant experience not only with M&A, but also with the intersection of technology and real-world customer needs. While working at Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, he helped the company take its portfolio of brands into the digital sphere by bringing them online and getting them to mobile while driving synergies with Caesars’ physical properties and consumer experiences around the world. In doing so, he also helped build one of the world’s largest social and mobile games companies, Playtika, through M&A and launched a number of real-money online gaming services in the U.S.
Now, as he helps to lead Crunchyroll in its evolution, he is driven by that same fascination with tech and his affinity for gaming fans that he had over two decades ago. “The thing that I love to see every day is how passionate my work colleagues are and consumers that love our content and services,” Pierre says. “It’s like being around fans every day, but they’re my colleagues. That’s what inspires me most, and it’s something that I haven’t seen at any other company. This truly sets us apart from any other place I’ve worked. It’s really a special place.”
SVP and Head of Strategy and Corporate Development
Crunchyroll (a Warner Media Company)