Exclusive Media raising equity to fuel expansion

Fresh coin would go toward distribution, production

Exclusive Media is looking to raise between $30 million and $50 million in new equity to help fuel its expansion into domestic distribution through its newly created Exclusive Releasing arm.

Company has tapped former Summit CFO Ron Hohauser to help advise on the expansion, for which the company is already talking to potential investors. One of those includes longtime Dutch backer Cyrte, which has infused Exclusive with more than $100 million since it first helped back the company when it formed in 2008.

Exclusive and Cyrte are working together on the raise, and it’s possible that Cyrte will put money into the deal. The two companies have completed five different investment transactions over the years.

First and foremost, say those close to the company, Exclusive will use any new coin to bolster the marketing team for Exclusive Releasing, a new venture that Exclusive toppers Nigel Sinclair and Guy East announced in September. Coin would also go toward film production and the possible acquisition of library content.

Under the leadership of president and chief operating officer Scott Pascucci and acquisitions head Matt Brodlie, Exclusive Releasing plans to theatrically distribute three or four films per year; it also plans to acquire films for accelerated-window and VOD release along with developing and acquiring alternative content such as concert films and music docus.

An injection of new capital will likely include a debt component in addition to fresh equity. Exclusive already has relationships with Comerica and Union Bank through its numerous single picture production loans — the primary source of money for the shingle’s films besides its core equity investment from Cyrte. Those close to the company estimate that Exclusive has arranged north of $240 million in gross production financing over the past four years.

In addition, Exclusive has a $15 million credit facility through Union Bank that comes with a $10 million “accordion” (a structure that doesn’t require companies to pay interest on money until they actually borrow it). Company uses that vehicle for film production and general operating costs.

Capital raise is in part fueled by Exclusive’s recent acquisition of a minority stake in Millennium Entertainment, the two-year-old production and distribution entity in Avi Lerner’s Nu Image group. The stake is believed to be around 20% and gives Exclusive access to Millennium’s home entertainment distribution systems, as well as CEO Bill Lee and his executive team.

New capital would help Exclusive compete in the domestic distribution arena that’s already crowded with other new entrants including A24 and potentially Annapurna Pictures.

Exclusive’s new distribution arm could mine opportunities for mid-sized pics, with Summit and Lionsgate’s combined strength letting the merged company focus on bigger releases.

“Throughout our company’s journey, we have looked to seize upon opportunities in the industry as it shifts and evolves,” said Nigel Sinclair, Exclusive’s co-chairman and CEO. “Many factors, including so called digital disruption, are changing the U.S. releasing markets in powerful and dramatic ways. Exclusive Releasing is the exciting and logical next step for Exclusive Media, as a content creator, and a logical response to this industry development. We seek to be involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process and distribution of our movies, and want to bring the same creative energy that goes into our productions to the releasing and marketing of our films across the board.”

Exclusive Media had its biggest-ever hit earlier this year with the relatively low-budget Daniel Radcliffe starrer “The Woman in Black,” which grossed $127 million worldwide and led to an upcoming sequel “Angel of Death” that will be directed by Tom Harper. Company also signed on early to produce and finance David Ayer’s well-reviewed drama “End of Watch,” a $7 million police pic that has taken in $36 million Stateside and hasn’t even started rolling out internationally.

Company continues to lend its name to star-driven projects such as Universal’s “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” Scott Frank’s upcoming adaptation of Lawrence Block’s novel that will star Liam Neeson as literary hero Matt Scudder. Exclusive has also signed on to produce Ron Howard’s racing biopic “Rush” while Summit will release Exclusive’s Dwayne Johnson starrer “Snitch” next year.

Likewise, the company is investing in filmmaker-driven movies including Ramin Bahrani’s “At Any Price,” which is earning strong reviews for its stars Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, as well as “Can a Song Save Your Life?” from “Once” helmer John Carney.

Exclusive Releasing has not officially chosen its first pics to unspool, but execs are eyeing Miley Cyrus pic “So Undercover” and the Sam Claflin starrer “The Quiet Ones” as possibilities.