Relativity Emerges from Bankruptcy

Ryan Kavanaugh - H 2016
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Ryan Kavanaugh - H 2016

Relativity Media is emerging from bankruptcy. After filing one of Hollywood's biggest ever bankruptcies last July, the Ryan Kavanaugh-led company has won approval to exit Chapter 11.

In February, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Wiles approved a reorganization plan for the film studio that has worked on films like The Fighter, Limitless and Beyond the Lights and the TV show Catfish. At the time, the judge made it conditional on Relativity finalizing paperwork on exit financing and making its Trigger Street deal to get Dana Brunetti on board.

This past week, Relativity changed the source of its financing and revealed that Kevin Spacey had bowed out of running the studio, but nevertheless, the judge ruled on Friday that the company has satisfied the conditions of its bankruptcy exit.

Relativity racked up more than $1 billion in debt to its roughly $500 million in assets before it filed for bankruptcy. The Chapter 11 filing also left a number of films in limbo, including the Kristen Wiig-Zach Galifianakis comedy Masterminds.

Brunetti is set to run Relativity with CEO Kavanaugh. The two will jointly decide which films and TV projects will be produced or acquired by the company. Additionally, there will be a "Creative Advisory Board" for Relativity, consisting of BrunettiKavanaugh and Joe Nicholas, a hedge-fund guy who has poured more money into the studio than anyone else in recent months.

The company said Friday that it secured $400 million in equity film financing from Michael Wexler and Tove Christensen’s Maple Leaf Films. Maple Leaf will finance 75 percent of future Relativity films on an annual basis for the next five years.

Maple Leaf Films is part of the Maple Leaf Capital Group of companies focusing on hedge funds, real estate and film finances, with offices in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Maple Leaf entered film finance in 2005, providing equity, debt or both for small to mid-size indie films.

Tatiana Siegel and Gregg Kilday also contributed to this report.