Viacom, Macquarie Investments Object to Fast-Track Auction of Relativity Media Assets

In court filings Wednesday, the two firms challenge proposal for accelerated sale, while Netflix files its own claim about delivery of Relativity titles in output deal

ryan kavanaugh

A new round of court filings in the Relativity Media bankruptcy case on Wednesday has revealed new wrinkles in the proposed sale-at-auction of the company’s assets: Two lenders, Macquarie Investments and Viacom, have raised strong objections to expediting the process as some of the studio’s other significant lenders want.

Macquarie, which has a considerable $34.2 million claim in the case, filed an objection in New York state bankruptcy court to the proposed plan — one that would approve the sale of Relativity’s film, TV and fashion divisions “free and clear of its liens.”

Furthermore, Macquarie claimed that the so-called stalking-horse bidder — consisting of Anchorage Capital, Falcon Investments and Luxor Capital under the moniker RM Bidder LLC — has set forth procedures and timing to maximize their own value in the sale.

“The only parties to benefit from this accelerated timeline are the… Stalking Horse Bidder,” Macquarie said through its attorneys, “each of whom is attempting to run away with valuable assets of the Debtors’ estates — not on a going concern basis, but on a cherry-picked, piecemeal basis.”

Viacom, whose financial stake in Relativity is not known, filed a claim with its own objections to the procedures and timing of the proposed auction.

In addition to the objection, attorneys for streaming service Netflix filed a request for protection in its licensing agreement with Relativity. The streaming platform provides income to Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh’s mini-major in exchange for film titles, income it is certain is included in any valuation of the company as it heads into auction.

Relativity Media did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment on the three filings.

The worry on the part of Netflix is that the licensing agreement and its subsequent payments are dependent upon the delivery of a set number of Relativity movies. Only two have been delivered for streaming this year; the court filings do not indicate how many films are expected to be delivered under the output deal.

The documents were filed two days ahead of Relativity’s second bankruptcy hearing this Friday, August 14, when U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles is expected to begin weighing many of the competing claims of stakeholders in the diminished studio.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.