Relativity to Sell for Up to $250 Million to Singapore’s YuuZoo (Exclusive)

Ryan Kavanaugh sells his studio which he relaunched after bankruptcy last year

Last Updated: October 28, 2016 @ 12:02 PM

Ryan Kavanaugh has closed a deal to sell his post-bankruptcy Relativity Media for up to $250 million to YuuZoo, a Singapore-based social commerce platform, TheWrap has exclusively learned.

According to an individual with knowledge of the deal, the arrangement includes the studio’s existing library of 40 movies, a half-dozen more currently in production and a lucrative output deal with Netflix that Kavanaugh has defended in court.

The agreement is binding but needs market regulation approval. It would make Relativity a publicly-traded company on the Singapore exchange, according to the individual with knowledge. The deal would be structured at a purchase price of $150 million with a final value of $250 million if certain milestones are hit.

A spokesperson for Relativity had no immediate comment. A spokesperson for YuuZoo could not immediately be reached.

YuuZoo went up against two other companies in a bidding war: tech company Lenovo, owned by Chinese investment group Legend Holdings, and another publicly traded Chinese company.

Kavanaugh also attracted interest from American studios, the insider said, thanks to a lucrative but contentious output deal with streaming giant Netflix.

After successfully extracting his core movie business from the ashes of the Chapter 11 process with funding from the likes of billionaire Joseph Nicholas and a group of senior lenders, Kavanaugh put his company up for sale again earlier this month.

The company formally emerged from the Chapter 11 process in mid-March after the studio filed for bankruptcy in July 2015. After resolving hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, the studio emerged with an impressive $400 million in new equity financing from Los Angeles-based Maple Leaf Films.

A stabilizing force in both bankruptcy court and the industry was Kavanaugh’s appointment of Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey as creative leaders at the new Relativity Studios.

Spacey committed to the role (with the title of Chairman) in a deal that would require about 100 days of service in the Relativity offices per yer, TheWrap reported at the time. Spacey even lent his likeness for a sizzle reel played in bankruptcy court, meant to reassure the judge that the company was in good hands.

He backed out of the position almost immediately after it was announced, citing acting commitments.

It’s unclear if Brunetti — a producer on “50 Shades of Grey” and Netflix’s “House of Cards” — and his services were a condition in the sale. His first project at the studio is an update of the classic “High Noon,” which is currently in development.

The studio recently released two movies — both of which performed poorly at the box office. The Zack Galifianakis heist comedy “Masterminds” earned just $6.6 million on 2,170 screens, while psychological thriller “The Disappointments Room” received poor reviews and has grossed only $2.4 million to date.

Relativity’s entire film slate has been repeatedly shuffled. “Masterminds” was released 13 months later than originally planned. On Dec. 2, the studio will release the Halle Berry thriller “Kidnap,” and next year will start production on “High Noon” and a highly anticipated remake of “The Crow,” starring Jason Momoa.

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