Ron Burkle acquires Relativity stake

Elliott Management to retain some interest; Burkle coin will fund Relativity ops

Supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle has become the second-largest shareholder in Relativity Media, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Burkle has agreed to buy out the majority of Elliott Management’s stake in the company, as reported by Bloomberg News. But Elliott isn’t totally out of the picture, according to a knowledgeable source, and some of the Burkle money will help fund Relativity’s operations.

Burkle’s investment, while undisclosed, is said to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Reps for Relativity and Elliott Management declined comment. A rep for Burkle could not immediately be reached for comment.

Relativity has been in discussions to raise new coin for months. Last summer, Relativity began discussions with JP Morgan Chase & Co. to help raising funds to buy out Elliott’s share, but those talks stalled.

Burkle already has ties to Relativity, having made a sizable loan to the company in November.

Burkle, who made much of his money in the supermarket business, has made forays into Hollywood before. He backed Harvey and Bob Weinstein during their bid to buy Miramax from Disney in 2010. The indie shingle eventually went to a consortium of investors led by construction magnate Ron Tutor and Colony Capital.

Elliott has backed Relativity-arranged financing deals both Sony and Universal. Friction mounted between Relativity and U, however, when the two began competitively dating similar “Snow White” projects.