Sony seals film-fund deal with Relativity

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As expected, Sony Pictures Entertainment closed a co-financing fund with Relativity Media (THR 1/31). The third deal of its kind with Relativity is being set up as a five-year revolving credit facility.

Called Beverly Blvd LLC, the fund will invest in the "majority" of films released by Columbia Pictures, omitting previously successful sequels and other franchise titles such as the upcoming "Spider-Man 3."

The deal is separate from the previously announced Gun Hill 1 and Gun Hill 2 deals that Sony struck with Relativity, providing approximately $750 million in co-production financing. Relativity Media owns 100% of the equity in Relativity Media Holdings LLC, the vehicle providing the financing. It will closely monitor the financing in each movie.

"Sony Pictures Entertainment has been exploring new co-financing deals as a way to extend the studio's production resources," said Bob Osher, COO, Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group. "Over the next five years, we believe our film slates will continue to offer some of the most promising motion pictures in the marketplace and we are particularly thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Relativity Media through the creation of Beverly Blvd LLC."

Specific titles and exact details of the Beverly Blvd LLC deal were not disclosed.

"This is the third deal we have completed with Sony since December 2005. With 13 #1 openings and the studio's #1 domestic market share last year, we firmly believe in the strength of the studio's slate, distribution capabilities, and especially in their management team," said Relativity principal Ryan Kavanaugh. "We are excited to continue our close partnership with Sony Pictures and look forward to our continuing relationship through Beverly Blvd LLC."
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