Supermarket magnate previously loaned Relativity $200 million, becomes second largest shareholder
Updated: 3:42 p.m. PT
Two months after loaning the company money to open two movies, L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle has taken a minority stake in Relativity Media, TheWrap has learned.
The supermarket magnate is buying a portion of hedge fund investor Elliott Management's stake in the independent studio, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.
The hedge fund will retain a smaller investment in the company, having been the primary financier for CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.
Burkle now becomes the second largest shareholder in the company after Kavanaugh. Elliott will be Relativity's third largest stakeholder.
For months, the studio has been subject to myriad rumors of financial distress and a revolving door of top executives.
Spokesmen for Relativity and Elliott declined to comment and a representative for Burkle's private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. did not immediately respond to requests.
The sale price is in "the hundreds of millions of dollars," according to the investor.
Elliott is believed to have invested about $1.2 billion in Relativity over the years.
Burkle has invested in Relativity before. As TheWrap first reported in November, Burkle furnished Relativity with a $200 million loan to cover marketing and production costs for its sword and sandals epic "Immortals" and its Snow White re-imagining "Mirror, Mirror."
At the time, an individual close to the parties involved said that Burkle was circling a JP Morgan deal to buy out Elliott Management’s minority interest in Relativity.
The loan to Relativity was obtained from Colbeck Capital Management at an 8.5 percent interest rate.
It is welcome news for the upstart studio, which has struggled to find a fresh investor since Elliott announced last spring that it was pulling its backing from the company. In the ensuing months, the company has had to deal with several key executive departures and concerns about a capital crunch.
Bloomberg News first reported Burkle's investment.
Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.
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