Village Roadshow secures $1 billion credit

Fund will help finance 3D 'Happy Feet' sequel

Village Roadshow Pictures Group -- which has co-financed and co-produced such Warners movies as the current "Sex and the City 2" and the recent "Sherlock Holmes" -- has closed a $1 billion credit facility to fund its current and future films slates.

JPMorgan Chase and Rabobank acted as joint syndication agents, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch acting as a co-lead lender, VRPG said Thursday.

First established in 1997, the facility has been tagged to finance production of "Sex and the City 2"; upcoming 3D pics "Cats and Dogs 2" and "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole"; Katherine Heigl-Josh Duhamel comedy "Life As We Know It," set for October; and 2011 3D sequel "Happy Feet."

"At a time when capital is at a premium, we've managed to attract the confidence of a diverse group of investors and secure significant financing," Greg Basser, CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the parent of VRPG and Concord Music Group. "We are grateful to all involved with the close of this deal and to our unwavering partners at Warner Bros."

VRPG has built a library of 65 films, 61 of which have been released in partnership with Warners, where it enjoys the status of being the film finance and production company with the longest relationship with the studio.

"We are in the business of making movies," VRP chairman and CEO Brue Berman said. "This new financing enables us to expand upon the solid foundation we've established within the industry and grow our slate of tentpole and star-driven films."
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