Relativity Asking Lenders for Year-Long Debt Extension (EXCLUSIVE)

Under dire financial strain, Relativity is asking lenders for a yearlong extension on roughly $350 million in debt that is due this Thursday, Variety has learned.

The so-called “amend and extend” on the studio’s agreement with its creditors comes as its founder, Ryan Kavanaugh, is scrambling to come up with a means of paying off the debt — or else risk losing control of the company he founded 11 years ago.

If Relativity gets an extension, Kavanaugh plans to use that reprieve to refinance the debt or bring in additional equity investors to repay lenders.

Relativity’s lenders have yet to vote on the proposal, and one source close to the negotiations said that in order for the amendment to pass, it has to receive unanimous approval. It’s not clear how at least one of those key lenders, Colbeck Capital, will vote. Kavanaugh has publicly feuded with Colbeck in the past, claiming that the firm was trying to seize control of Relativity by spreading false rumors about its financial health. A Colbeck director was recently kicked off Relativity’s board.

Two sources close to Relativity insist that Kavanaugh has been able to convince 70% of the company’s lenders to agree to a yearlong extension on the money they are owed, but that may be a moot point if the other lenders don’t sign on. At the same time, the Relativity chief is actively courting outside investors to buy out roughly 30% of those lenders who may not be willing to vote to give him more time. That would require Kavanaugh to come up with more than $100 million. A vote on the proposal will take place in the next two or three days.

Should Kavanaugh’s “amend and extend” proposal fail, a majority of the lenders can vote to offer him a much shorter extension similar to the monthlong postponement they granted the company in May. Relativity could still end up in bankruptcy if the Thursday deadline comes and goes without new deals in place and investors pressure the company to file for Chapter 11 in hopes that a restructuring would lead to a quicker payout.

 

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