Relativity raising $200 mil in debt

Seeks coin through Burkle, banks for acquisitions, development

Billionaire supermarket magnate Ron Burkle is getting deeper into the Relativity business, opening his wallet for a third time in less than six months to back the company’s latest fundraising efforts.

Through his Yucaipa Companies and Colbeck Capital fund (in which he is a major investor), Burkle is in early discussions to fork over $75 million of junior capital as part of an effort to raise $200 million.

That raise, led by advisory firm Mesa Global, would fund strategic acquisitions and development mostly unrelated to its film and television ventures, according to sources with direct knowledge of the deal.

That could include sports investments that complement Relativity’s Rogue Sports arm, which currently manages about 50 athletes, including basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire.

Company has just two movies on its production slate: drama “Safe Haven” and “21 and Over,” both of which are scheduled for release next year.

If two to three banks don’t sign on to supply the $125 million of senior debt that would complement Burkle’s coin, Relativity’s latest major investor may increase his portion of the deal. While other backers have yet to officially sign on to the deal, sources with direct knowledge of the transaction say Relativity will look to banks outside of the typical entertainment lending sphere.

Relativity will back the total coin raised with its library of roughly 50 films, including recent releases “Mirror Mirror” and “Act of Valor.”

Company’s other assets include the Rogue library and more than 20 Relativity-produced films, including last year’s Henry Cavill-toplined actioner “Immortals.”

As tension grew last year between Relativity and hedge fund Elliott Management — which had backed Relativity-arranged slate deals at Universal and Sony — Burkle came into the picture, backing Relativity in November, when he first made a $200 million loan to the company. The billionaire supermarket magnate later purchased a stake in the company in a deal that took Elliott out of the picture completely.

Relativity and Yucaipa declined to comment. Mesa did not return a call for comment.

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