Jeff Robinov is in the process of raising several hundred million dollars in financing for a company that will finance and produce movies for Sony, according to several individuals with knowledge of his plans. Negotiations are ongoing with both potential investors and the studio, but two individuals said Sony is likely Robinov’s home.
The former Warners Bros. film chief is looking to raise around $300 million in equity, according to knowledgeable individuals: One put the sum at $350 million in equity, but others say the figure will end up closer to $300 million. He is raising a similar sum in debt, meaning that he should have more than half a billion at his disposal.
Robinov has been in conversation with the Huayi Brothers, a leading Chinese film production company, according to several individuals with knowledge of his plans, and has also spoken with billionaire Len Blavatnik.
He has yet to determine his lead investor. Though a report Wednesday said Blavatnik would not be the lead investor, negotiations about Blavantik’s role in all of this are ongoing.
Robinov and Sony declined comment for this story.
Robinov has been pursuing funding from myriad international sources for several months, as he plots his next move since a calamitous exit from Warner Bros. Robinov worked at the studio for more than 15 years, spending his final four years as the head of the film studio. Robinov was one of the most successful executives in all of Hollywood, and boasted strong relationships with directors like Christopher Nolan and Ben Affleck.
During his tenure, Warner Bros reached the apex of both critical and commercial success, releasing a Best Picture winner, Affleck’s “Argo,” and several billion-dollar films, including Christopher Nolan‘s “Batman” franchise” and “The Hangover” films.
Yet he chafed under the leadership of new Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and was upset at being passed over for the same job. He stopped showing up for work, and negotiated his exit.
Robinov then took a few months off before meeting with investors and executives. Initial reports indicated Robinov may have been headed to Fox, and he did meet with Fox as recently as last Friday, but Sony remains the frontrunner.
Sony has been looking for co-financiers to mitigate the risk of making movies, and has also had conversations with Blue Anchor and one more financing entity about their financing part of the studio’s slate.
Sony would put some money into Robinov’s fund, as well as supporting the marketing and distribution of his movies, but the extent of their financial commitment remains unclear.