Charles William Prast was born in Brooklyn, New York, United States. He attended Greens Farms Academy in Greens Farms, Connecticut and double majored in Economics and French at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
Shortly after graduation from college, Prast began his financial career with Dean Witter Reynolds in Paris France where, at 21, he was appointed as Operations Manager of their Paris branch. In 1989, Prast moved to Drexel Burnham Lambert’s Paris office as an Associate Director. Following Drexel Burnham’s closure in 1990, Prast and several colleagues co-founded a hybrid asset management and institutional equity sales operation for Legg Mason and Banamex in Paris.
In 1993, Prast moved to London to join former colleagues from Drexel Burnham Lambert who had created NatWest Markets USA, the US broker dealer and investment banking arm of National Westminster Bank. In 1997 Prast left NatWest to join Furman Selz’s London office as a Director and equity holder. Shortly after his joining, Furman Selz agreed to be acquired by Dutch banking giant ING Group for $600 million and was integrated into ING Barings, ING Group’s investment banking arm.
At the end of his buy-out related contact, Prast left ING Barings to join Commerzbank AG in London where he helped build the media banking group and played a key role in raising over $1bn in equity and equity-linked financing for US and European interactive entertainment companies including Ubisoft SA. Building on Commerzbank’s successful IPO of $300m European erotic retailer Beate Uhse AG, Prast also began to provide investment banking services to adult entertainment companies, believing that the Internet would become a disruptive technology for adult content providers and create challenges that would require consolidation and capital.
In early 2002, Prast left Commerzbank to join Barcelona based Private Media Group, Inc. as President and CEO. At Private, Prast restructured $4m in short-term debt and raised over $2m in equity-linked financing. At Private, Prast bid for the Napster brand which was in bankruptcy. In late 2003, General Media, Inc. the parent company of Penthouse filed for protection under Chapter 11. From 2004 until 2005 Prast worked to maximize the value of the portion of Penthouse acquired by Interactive Brand Development, Inc. At Interactive Brand Development, Prast structured an investment in XTV, Inc. an IPTV provider for which Prast helped obtain a NASDAQ listing and ultimately joined as CEO.
Under Prast and his partners’ tenure LA-based Interactive Television Networks’ content relationships grew to include Universal Studios, Major League Baseball, Liberty Starz and Setanta Sports among others.
Since 2008, Prast has acted as an early stage investor and adviser. He served as an SVP of New Frontier Media, Inc. as well as adviser to the Board of Beate Uhse and numerous public and private company Boards, creditors and shareholders on a confidential basis. After a shareholder and creditor rights battle, Prast was elected to the Board of Directors of Private in January 2012.
He is based in Cyprus and Barcelona, Spain.