Imperial, Benfield form film-financing venture

Benfield Imperial Entertainment Finance to be topped by Atkinson, Underwood

Showbiz banker Imperial Entertainment Group on Thursday announced a transatlantic alliance with the U.K.’s Benfield Group, a leading independent reinsurance agency headquartered in London.

Deal calls for the partners to create a venture called Benfield Imperial Entertainment Finance, headed by Benfield’s Ed Atkinson in London and Imperial senior VP and co-manager Jared Underwood in Los Angeles.

Underwood called the U.K. “an important market which we felt we were underserving.” Imperial is active in financing theatrical films, including many indie projects, as well as TV production and music projects.

Benfield will own the entity and provide business development and client relationship services for Imperial, a Beverly Hills-based entertainment finance firm owned by Comerica Bank.

“The United Kingdom has been crying out for a substantial entertainment finance lender,” Atkinson said, noting that Benfield is a major player in insurance-backed financing. “Although this practice is waning, it is an area we largely dominate and will continue to develop.

“We look forward to being able to offer U.K. and British-based productions the complete financial option through our new alliance with Imperial.”

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