Sony Pictures Nearing Financing Deal With Blue Anchor

Three-year pact could bring $350 million in equity

Sony Pictures is nearing a three-year co-financing deal with Blue Anchor Entertainment that would bring between $300 million and $350 million in equity to the studio, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The transaction, which is not closed, could also include an additional line of credit.

The deal with Blue Anchor would be the fourth major co-financing agreement made this year by a major studio following similar funding pacts by 20th Century Fox with Chip Seelig, Universal with Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. with RatPac-Dune Entertainment.

Blue Anchor’s principals are John LaViolette, a partner in the Beverly Hills entertainment law firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, and producer Joseph M. Singer, whose producing credits include “Courage Under Fire,” “Dante’s Peak” and “Dr. Dolittle.” Singer has also worked as an investment banker and as a Universal executive.

Sony endured a tough summer with big-budget underperformers “After Earth” and “White House Down.”  Its next major title, Tom Hanks’ “Captain Phillips,” opens Oct. 11.

The board of studio parent Sony Corp. was pressured in May and June by Daniel Loeb through his Third Point hedge fund to spin off as much as 20% of its U.S.-based entertainment assets into a separately traded public company. Loeb contended that a separate show business entity would boost efficiency and accountability but the board officially rebuffed Loeb’s efforts in July.

Third Point owns about 7% of Sony.

Sony Pictures received more than $500 million in capital from Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media to co-finance movies between 2008 and 2011.

Warner Bros. closed its $450 million financing deal with RatPac-Dune Entertainment on Sept. 30. That pact is a four-year partnership with Dune’s Steven Mnuchin, filmmaker Brett Ratner and Australian billionaire James Packer, to fund up to 75 upcoming films.

Legendary began shopping its deal in June after deciding not to renew at WB and announced in July that its new deal would be at Universal. Variety reported in August that Legendary was planning to spend $275 million annually in U’s films and its own properties within the first two years of the deal and $350 million a year during the next three years.

Fox and Dune began a co-financing deal in 2005 but the agreement was not renewed this year and the studio struck a slate deal with Seelig.

The Deadline.com site first reported Sony’s deal with Blue Anchor.

SEE ALSO: Warner Bros. Closes Financing Deal With Dune, Brett Ratner, James Packer

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