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Solar teams to offer financing to indies

New investment bank has eclectic investors

Aiming to provide an array of financing to the indie sector, Solar Entertainment Group has partnered with Hoffman Lloyd LLC to create a media/entertainment investment bank dubbed Solar Entertainment HLB.

The bank will have offices in Los Angeles, London and New York. Move, announced Tuesday, comes two months after Solar Pictures launched full-service specialty financing division Solar Media Capital.

Solar Entertainment HLB is aimed at developing and implementing capital raising and investing strategies in media and entertainment on behalf of corporate and investor clients. Veteran media/entertainment bankers Peter Hoffman and Alexandra (Sasha) Lloyd will manage the new entity; Hoffman and Lloyd were lead advisors in the FilmYard Holdings acquisition of Miramax in 2010 and Summit Entertainment’s recapitalization in 2011.

Michael Blum has been tapped chairman of Solar Entertainment HLB. Blum worked with Hoffman at Merrill Lynch, where Blum oversaw transactions involving Marvel Studios, ICM and Summit.

Investors and strategic partners in Solar Entertainment include Edward Lawson Johnston, founder of the London-based merchant bank LJ Group; the New York-based Shu family, with major holdings in real estate and energy in the U.S., Romania and China; Bobby Paunescu, the majority owner of a leading private industrial conglom in Central and Eastern Europe; and Jared Underwood, who handled financing for hundreds of films at Comerica before teaming with Paunescu in March to form Solar Pictures.

“This partnership complements the product offerings of Solar Media Capital,” said Underwood. “Through Solar Entertainment HLB, SEG can now offer individual filmmakers, indie film companies and the mini-major and major studios a full spectrum of financial products ranging from debt to equity, single picture to slate financing, and corporate financing to studio co-financing.”

Hoffman said the new entity will help Hoffman Lloyd expand. “Through SEG, we gain an international orientation, which positions us to remain at the forefront in organizing and executing the next generation of deals in entertainment finance on behalf of our clients,” he added.

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