Dealmaker for Winchester

Co. loads up on financing services

Winchester Capital Management has added an exec and new financing services to its roster.

Eli Baker, formerly Grosvenor Park’s head of legal and biz affairs, has joined Winchester as a principal. He’ll take the lead on structuring and negotiating the company deals, including single- and multipicture financings, senior and gap lending, as well as tax incentive financing transactions.  

Company has mainly been involved in single-picture and structured finance until now; it’s adding tax-credit and soft money to the mix.

“We think there’s a huge growth in other areas of financing,” said Winchester partner Jeff Sagansky. “It’s getting harder for independent producers to get pictures financed. Bank and hedge fund financing has dried up. We want to offer an alternative.”

Winchester will finance pics and provide producers with advances on various filmmaking incentives offered in the U.S. and abroad.

The financier already has experience with various Stateside incentives, including Puerto Rico, where it made Grant Heslov’s George Clooney-Ewan McGregor pic “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” It is teaming with attorney Antonio Sifre to provide tax credit and other local financial services for productions coming to the island. 

At Grosvenor Park, which recently exited the U.S. tax credit biz, Baker oversaw the company’s structured finance, debt and tax businesses. Baker also served as inhouse counsel at companies including Content Film and Artisan Entertainment. 

 Founded in April 2007 by Jean-Luc De Fanti and former CBS and Sony exec Sagansky, Winchester operates a film fund. It has made investments in films including Jonathan Liebesman’s “The Killing Room” and Rebecca Miller’s “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee,” starring Robin Wright Penn and Keanu Reeves. Winchester also has a multipic financing relationship with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp.