Toronto 2011: IM Global and Penny Black Team on New Financing Fund

Joint venture will focus on developing entertainment properties that have the potential for success in multiple media formats.

Powerhouse sales and financing company IM Global and New York-based investment firm Penny Black are teaming on The 1840 Fund, which will focus on developing entertainment properties that can play across multiple media platforms, whether movies, live events or digital media.

The combination of IM Global’s eye for commercially viable content and Penny Black’s financial resources and entrepreneurial edge is an exciting one. We’re looking forward to sourcing some great projects together,” said IM Global CEO Stuart Ford in announcing the joint venture with Penny Black executive chairman Lawrence Salameno.

The amount of the fund wasn’t disclosed; nor was the first project.

Penny Black is the business of financing early stage innovation across multiple industries. We see content consumption commanding higher degress of flexibility, driven primarily by technology options,” said Salameno.

Among its ventures, Penny Black has provided strategic financing for Kristin Hanggi’s production company Wonder Falls Entertainment. Hanggi is the Tony Award-winning director of Rock of Ages, which is now being adapted for the big screen by Warner Bros.

We see content consumption commanding higher degrees of flexibility, driven primarily by technology adoption. At the same time, capital efficiency is accelerating the time and lowering the cost of bringing new ventures to market. Networks are essential to our thesis, strong resources, talent, and capital is critical and exemplified by top-tier partners like Stuart and IM Global,” Salameno continued.

The 1984 Fund will look for properties such as Rock of Ages that can translate across different platforms. Another example is IM Global and parent company Reliance ADA’s big-budget feature Walking with Dinosaurs, based on the wildly successful BBC television series and live event, and which they are making in partnership with BBC Worldwide and Evergreen Films.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of IM Global by executive vice president of motion picture finance Michael Roban and on behalf of Penny Black by managing director Eliot Durbin.

News comes on the eve of the Toronto Film Festival, where Ford will continue to sell foreign rights to Madonna’s W.E., among other titles.