EXCLUSIVE: It’s official. Rizvi Traverse Management is confirming that Clark Hallren will lead its new Los Angeles-based advisory firm. “He is a true industry veteran, with a proven and well-documented track record,” a spokesman for Connecticut-based Rizvi told me just now. “After 23 extremely happy years at JPM, he looks forward to continuing to partner with them on wide range of opportunities long into the future.” Set to launch this fall, the LA advisory firm “will be different from any firms currently operating and uniquely able to help meet the financial challenges facing the entertainment and media industries,” the spokesman added. Clark’s contract with JP Morgan doesn’t expire until August and an immediate announcement was expected until then. But I speed that up after Hallran had been having lunches for the past 6 weeks telling people that he was leaving the bank and going to work for Rizvi.
This was certainly a surprise since Hallren had been the longtime Managing Director in the Los Angeles-based Entertainment Industries Group of JP Morgan Securities. Equity fund operator Suhail Rizvi is best known to Hollywood as a substantial investor in ICM. JP Morgan’s showbiz group arranges 95% of financing for major movie studios and independent film producers and remains one of the few active banks authorizing multibillion dollar lines of credits in the film financing arena after Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Kleinwort and others shut their showbiz divisions. The unit has worked with DreamWorks SKG, MGM, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros as well as some of Hollywood’s best-known films, including Gladiator, Seabiscuit and many of the James Bond movies. Among other deals, it arranged the IPOs for DreamWorks Animation and RHI Entertainment, the $4.8 billion sale of MGM to Sony Corp of America and its equity partners, and the $340 million revolving credit facility for Lions Gate.
Long led by legend John Miller, the Entertainment Industries Group is now headed by David Shaheen who took over when Miller retired after 30 years. Hallren’s move to Rizvi must mean the ICM investor wants to dive deeper into showbiz investments. Hallren himself played the major role aiding Starz’s Overture Films led by CEO Chris McGurk to complete $325M in long-term film slate financing and distribution agreements for the company, including a $225M credit facility provided by a group of banks led by JP Morgan.) JP Morgan’s Entertainment Industries group.