Fund to span the indie gap

ICM investors build NewBridge fund

The same investors who poured more than $100 million into ICM last year are now looking to fill the gap for the indie film biz.

With the help of ICM chair-CEO Jeff Berg, Merrill Lynch’s Global Asset Based Finance Group and Rizvi Traverse Management have formed NewBridge Film Capital, a gap financing fund with an initial pot of $40 million.

While ICM is not a part of NewBridge, Berg provided strategic advice in the development and execution of the fund, to be officially announced at the Cannes Film Festival.

Rizvi and Merrill Lynch have tapped film financing veteran Diane Stidham to serve as NewBridge chief exec and gap financing expert Danny Mandel as director.

Stidham, who will be attending Cannes, and Mandel are already working out of their new offices in L.A. Both have long histories of working with filmmakers and studios to secure financing.

NewBridge fund will be available to a wide variety of projects needing loan money to cover the gap between a film’s production budget and the amount actually committed to the film. Coin won’t be limited to ICM-repped projects.

Fund, which is in its early stages, is expected to grow in value as more investors join in.

Merrill Lynch and Rizvi are believed to have each put up $20 million.

Stidham and Mandel have been looking at several projects, but no production has yet secured NewBridge money.

The Connecticut-based Rizvi Traverse is headed by Suhail Rizvi, who made his first foray into Hollywood when investing $75 million in ICM. At the same time, Merrill Lynch’s Global Asset Based Finance Group invested $25 million in the tenpercentery.

ICM said the recapitalization deal would allow the agency to settle its debt and pursue expansion.

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