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Buoyed by the massive summer hit Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and a plum China release date for the upcoming Skyscraper, Legendary Entertainment has closed a $1 billion senior secured revolving credit facility led by J.P. Morgan.
Just three months after former attorney Joshua Grode joined the studio as CEO, he has quickly made his mark with the new facility, which replaces the previous $585 million credit facility with more favorable terms. Grode secured an industry-low interest rate and also incorporated significant production credits, which allows Legendary to borrow based on estimated future performance when a movie or TV show starts production as opposed to against receivables after that movie or TV show comes out.
Combined with its cash on the balance sheet on the closing of the new facility, Legendary will have approximately $2 billion of liquidity.
Joining J.P. Morgan is a syndicate of top-tier entertainment banks, including Union Bank, Bank of America, Comerica Bank, CIT, Fifth Third Bank and SunTrust Bank.
The move comes as Legendary ramps up under Mary Parent on the film side and Nick Pepper on the TV side and harnesses the studio’s Chinese partners like Wanda to maximize distribution opportunities and profitability in the growing Asian market.
“We are executing the business plan that we mapped when I joined Legendary at the start of the year,” Grode said. “This new facility and the support from the financial institutions that power our industry is validation of our strategy and another major step in cementing Legendary’s position as one of the premiere content creation companies in the world. We are continuing to be heads down on the creative work with our world-class creative team, with Mary Parent driving the film business and both Mary and Nick Pepper energizing our television business.”
Added J.P. Morgan’s David Shaheen: “Legendary is an important name in the industry, with a strong balance sheet and deep support from the entertainment banking community that enables robust investment across its content platform.”
Legendary currently has three films in various phases of postproduction, including the Dwayne Johnson starrer Skyscraper, which is set to open July 13 in the U.S. and on the unprecedented date of July 20 in China (that country typically releases only homegrown fare during that stretch of summer); Godzilla: King of the Monsters; and Detective Pikachu. Through its co-financing arrangement with Universal, Legendary also has a stake in the new Jurassic World movie Fallen Kingdom (which has grossed $798 million worldwide so far in its run) as well as such upcoming films as Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (July 20), Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman (Aug. 10) and Mortal Engines (Dec. 14).
On the TV front, Legendary recently landed a second-season order from Netflix for its Lost in Space series and is supporting an Emmy campaign for The Looming Tower, the studio’s critically acclaimed 9/11 drama streaming on Hulu.
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