Access Entertainment, part of Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, has acquired James Packer’s stake in RatPac Entertainment, the companies said Tuesday.
The deal, financial terms of which weren’t disclosed, gives Access ownership of RatPac’s film, television and documentary business, along with a piece of the RatPac-Dune venture, which co-finances films for Warner Bros. Pictures and which was created with U.S. treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin.
Brett Ratner will retain his stake in RatPac, continue as CEO and become co-chairman alongside Danny Cohen, president of Access Entertainment and former director of BBC Television. The companies didn’t immediately detail how big Packer’s stake was.
The deal will help accelerate RatPac’s expansion into television and further establish Access Entertainment as a player that is active across various parts of the entertainment industry. Mnuchin has said he would sell his stakes in various companies given his government role, with Tuesday’s deal positioning Access Entertainment as one possibly buyer of his holding in RatPac-Dune.
“I am thrilled to be in partnership with Len and Danny,” said Ratner. “Len and I have shared the same vision and passion for movies, television and music over the years. Because of his experience and enthusiasm, RatPac Entertainment will be an even more formidable provider of quality entertainment worldwide.”
Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., said: “Len has an incredible track record launching really successful business ventures, including Access Entertainment. We’re excited to continue our relationship with Brett and RatPac and look forward to working with Len, Danny and the entire Access team. I’d also like to thank James — he’s been a terrific partner the last three years, having worked with us on a number of key films, including Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and The Lego Batman Movie.”
Said Cohen: “I’m very excited to be in business with Brett Ratner, Kevin Tsujihara and Warner Bros. The RatPac development slate has great creative strength and we will be working hard to maximize all aspects of the business across development, financing and production.”
And Blavatnik said: “Warner Bros. is one of the great Hollywood Studios. I have great respect for their leadership and am delighted to be partnering with Kevin Tsujihara and the Studio alongside the unique talent of Brett Ratner. Together we will build on RatPac’s strategic partnership with Warner Bros.”
Founded in 2013 by Ratner and Packer, RatPac has co-financed films that have been nominated for 52 Academy Awards, 39 BAFTAs, 23 Golden Globes, five Emmys and eight Australian Academy Awards. They have won 22 Academy Awards, 17 BAFTAs, seven Golden Globes and three Australian Academy Awards.
In 2013, RatPac partnered with Dune Entertainment on a multiyear motion picture co-financing arrangement with Warner Bros. for up to 75 pictures, including Gravity, The Lego Movie, American Sniper, Kong: Skull Island, the upcoming Wonder Woman and more.
Since its launch in May 2016, Access Entertainment has so far made an investment in a premium scripted TV financing venture with BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point, acquired a 25 percent stake in international TV business Bad Wolf and struck a film slate deal with House Productions.
Matt Thompson and his team at law firm Sidley Austin led the deal for Access Entertainment, while RatPac was represented by David Eisman and his team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.