Sony Pictures and Jeff Robinov plan to officially unveil their partnership arrangement for Studio 8, the former Warner Bros. exec’s new production company, as early as next week, according to people close to the matter.
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has agreed to invest $200 million in the new venture, Variety has learned, and Sony, where Studio 8 will be based, is ponying up $50 million for a 20% stake in Robinov’s company. Sony’s ownership percentage could decrease if another financier comes into the fold.
Robinov is in talks with Entertainment Film Distributors to possibly become an investor as well as Studio 8’s U.K. distributor, sources said. One of those people said discussions are also under way with other potential equity investors.
Sony is limiting its risk with Studio 8 by serving primarily as a distributor and not picking up P&A costs, according to sources familiar with the arrangement. Studio 8 is looking to produce four to six films a year. Within the Sony deal, Robinov will have some latitude in the dating of his films and will have the ability to determine which movies he’s making.
Discussions are also under way with J.P. Morgan and Bank of America to provide senior debt to Studio 8, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. Robinov is aiming to raise roughly $1 billion in equity and debt, though industry sources say that he is nowhere close to that amount yet.
Negotiations with Huayi Brothers Media Corp. fell apart last month when the Chinese company changed its original level of commitment and it came to light at the last minute that the company had planned to syndicate much of the deal, say two people with knowledge of the situation.