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Sacker ankles Miramax for Nomura

Film co. says exec left unexpectedly

Nomura Capital has named Neil Sacker exec veep of the Entertainment Finance Group. In the newly created post, the former Miramax Films exec will be charged with overseeing the day-to-day dealmakings of the bur-geoning finance company.

Nomura, which recently held a luncheon at the House of Blues to tout its brand of collateralized financing, is in talks with Rod Stewart to ink a deal tied to the singer’s recording royalties. It would be the first high-profile deal for the group, which in September bowed an arm aimed at entertain-ment industry transactions. (Daily Variety, Sept. 30).

Sacker, who also adds the title of director of Nomura Capital, is the latest hire of the firm, which boasts music industry entrepreneur Irving Azoff and commercial real estate kingpin Ethan Penner among its ranks. Penner met Azoff when he hired one of Azoff’s management clients, the Eagles, to perform at a Nomura sales conference attended by bankers and real estate developers.

“Neil has a successful track record in legal and business affairs and he’s someone that can speak to the needs of the entertainment industry,” Azoff told Daily Variety. “We needed a real expert in the entertainment side of the business and we found that with Neil.” Azoff cited Sacker’s “expertise and hands-on knowledge of entertainment industry nuances” as key factors for the nod.

The firm also has Casey Wasserman, grandson of Universal chairman emeritus Lew Wasserman, on board. Wasserman will soon be elevated as staffing for Nomura picks up to keep pace with industry interest and demand.

Sacker’s appointment poises Nomura for rapid growth with its non-recourse loans and equity investments.

“The combination of Ethan’s unprecedented success in revolutionizing finance in the ’90s with Irving’s broad-based and highly successful ac-complishments make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Sacker. “I’ll be taking many of the principles that made Nomura successful in real estate and applying them to the entertainment industry.”

Nomura’s plan includes offering individual loans that will be bundled into groups, transformed into asset-backed securities and then sold to investors. The loans will be repaid by future revenue streams such as music royalties, TV syndication fees or gross profits on films.

The entry of Nomura is among the latest move by Wall Street types interested in tapping into the large sums paid to film directors, actors and singers and then offer bonds backed by the entertainer’s assets or future income.

Sacker spent three years at Miramax/Dimension Films as exec veep of business and legal affairs for all media. The film company said the exec “left the company unexpectedly with significant time on his contract.” Attorneys for Sacker said his contract was no longer valid.

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