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Relativity restructuring

Dealmakers Impact Report 2012

There’s an old adage that a good deal leaves everyone a little disappointed, a phrase oft repeated by Relativity topper Ryan Kavanaugh.

“None of us slept for four days, literally,” said Kavanaugh of the company’s 11th-hour negotiations to close a $350 million debt financing in May. “You have to almost tailor the deal to each (investor). You get to a place where actually closing a deal with that number and sophistication of partners is like a Rubik’s cube.”

Kavanaugh, co-COO Happy Walters, co-COO Greg Shamo and exec VP business development Ramon Wilson led that deal, as well as a $150 million equity raise. Execs worked closely with New York-based credit fund Colbeck Capital (in which Relativity backer Ron Burkle is a major investor), investment bank Mesa, prexy Tucker Tooley and inhouse attorney Lauren Goldberg.

Shamo, Kavanaugh said, was critical in all of the legal negotiations. “Doing a debt round of that size with sophisticated institutional investors involved a complicated legal structuring, and he was the one that led that and really ran it for Relativity.”

Burkle has backed Relativity since 2010, beginning with a $50 million loan through Colbeck. The supermarket magnate has since taken over a sizeable portion of the company, replacing Elliott Management’s 25% stake in January. “He worked side by side with us in bringing in perhaps the most pedigreed group of lenders, and then he worked with us closely to do an equity round,” Kavanaugh said of Burkle.

Wilson knows what it’s like to barely get outdoors during Relativity’s dealmaking: The exec quietly hammered out the financial details of Relativity’s 2010 takeover of Overture during an intense eight-week period. Exec first joined Relativity in 2006, and is an essential part of running the company’s financial models and analysis (“He’s the numbers guy,” says Kavanaugh.)

Walters, who joined Relativity in 2009, oversees the company’s sports division. and formerly served as prexy of Relativity’s Rogue Sports arm.

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