Exhibiting changes

Oaktree nears Silver deal; Edwards takeover detailed

HOLLYWOOD — The exhib industry shakeout continued Thursday as Oaktree Capital closed on its purchase of Silver Cinemas and tapped a former exec to run the circuit, and details emerged on the takeover of Edwards Theaters by financier Philip Anschutz and Oaktree.

An announcement is expected today that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., has approved a Silver reorg plan featuring Oaktree’s $40 million acquisition of the Dallas-based company, parent to the Landmark Theaters arthouse circuit and a chain of discount-movie theaters.

Oaktree had to outbid another Silver suitor, Madstone Films, to avoid taking a bath on some loans to the distressed exhib. Oaktree plans to revitalize the ailing exhib.

Familiar faces

For starters, it appointed former exec Paul Richardson to replace ankling topper Larry Hohl. Oaktree also retained another former exec, Bert Manzari, on a part-time consulting basis.

“It’s very smart on the part of Oaktree that they’re finally bringing in management that knows not only how to operate Landmark in its core business but also how to strategically capitalize on the opportunities it has to grow in its niche,” said Steve Giulula, a 23-year Landmark vet now running distribution at Fox Searchlight.

As in some other exhib reorgs, Silver is using its restructuring to dump a bunch of unprofitable theaters, mostly among its discount properties.

Takeover plans

Meanwhile, over at Edwards, details of a pending takeover by Anschutz and Oaktree have been few. But the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company Thursday issued a news release confirming the Anschutz-Oaktree group will pay $56 million for a 51% stake in the company with the family of chairman Jim Edwards retaining 49%.

Edwards’ bank debt will be largely converted to equity through the transaction, with roughly $9 million in subordinated notes to remain on the company’s books.