×

James Moore, CEO and managing director of Vine Alternative Investments, spent 16 years as a banker for JP Morgan, working in asset management to design investment vehicles with predictable returns.

For most of his tenure, he shied away from the movie business because profits were anything but predictable. But as Moore discusses in the latest episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, the globalization of media and a thriving home entertainment market changed the dynamic, making it possible to model out cash flows and revenue streams for titles over a multi-year time frame. That, in turn, gave Moore the spark to hang out his own shingle as a media-centric investor with Vine Alternative Investments.

The breakthrough was realizing that “we could create an institutional-quality investment out of media and entertainment,” Moore said.

Vine Alternative Investments launched in 2006, not long before the nation plunged into a deep recession. The business models driving growth in media and entertainment have changed dramatically in the last 15 years, but the overall approach has not. Vine is in the market for content and IP acquisitions, large and small. The company acquired the long-established film production vehicle Village Roadshow, a producer of “The Matrix” franchise and 2019’s “Joker,” in 2017 and the film library of Lakeshore Entertainment in 2018.

Moore sees shopping opportunities on the horizon as the industry slowly pulls out of the pandemic lockdown freeze. But that doesn’t mean that they are only seeking distressed companies. Vine also does smaller-scale asset buyouts from individuals and estates that may own profit participation stakes in just a handful of projects.

james moore vine alternative investments

“We deal with everybody from well-capitalized companies to those needing some diversification to those that are struggling and really needing the ultimate liquidity solution,” he said.

Rather than hindering business, the economic jolt of widespread shutdowns and the work-from-home orders have actually “accelerated some of the transactions we were looking at,” prior to the lockdown.

“Our transactions take a long time,” Moore said. “It’s a process of understanding the assets at a very granular level. We tend to have a lot of lead time for everything we’ve ever done. The pandemic has accelerated a number of opportunities in our portfolio.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

(Pictured: “The Matrix”)